Week 8 Twin Dance

Twin Song / 双生•歌 布面油画 50×50厘米 Niamh Cunningham/瑞莲 2012

A portrait will be posted every week on this website home page throughout the year of 2019. Some are of young Chinese learners whom I used to teach in my early years in China (this is from the Transparent Milk Series), some are of family , friends, and others are of artists and curators with whom I have worked over the years. 

Excavations – group exhibition at Enjoy Museum , 798

We hope you can join us for the opening at Enjoy Museum 798 for this exciting group exhibition with artists : Gulistan, Fion Gunn,  Lee Sheungha, Monika Lin , Audrey Mullins and myself.  exhibition celebrating the cultural and commercial twinning of Beijing and Dublin. Artists include : Gulistan, Fion Gunn, Opening April 12th 2018. Sponsored by Dublin City Council, the exhibition is curated by Jia Jingjing and Fion Gunn.   There will be bilingual guided tours and other events throughout next weekend.

Funeral of comfort woman Zhang Xiantu


food offerings

On Friday Nov 20th I arrived in XiYan town in Yu county,  Shanxi for the funeral of Zhang Xiantu. She was the last surviving member of a group of comfort women that sued the Japanese government in 1995. In 2007 a top court in Japan recognized the crime but rejected the compensation claims.


CAPA wreath

I came to Shanxi because a few weeks earlier in Beijing we had a major contemporary group exhibition which I co curated with Fion Gunn “Intimate Transgressions” dealing with the issue of sexual violence as a weapon of war (click here for previous post). This large group exhibition will continue to visit cities in 2016 within China and Asia before going to Australia and Europe.


One of our artists Gao Yuan had researched the comfort women in Yu county for her photography and video work and we had chosen Gao’s portrait of Zhang Xiantu for the large poster outside Inter gallery in 798. Once I was kindly offered a car ride from Beijing by artist Meng Zifan and Jiang Yuchun there was no question, I was able to go.


There were stone slabs on one alley way which I was told was likely to be 300 years old. And so I couldn’t help thinking that there would have been little change to this impoverished village since the war. On entering the family farm-yard there was a fire burning wood to welcome and offer warmth for visitors, this is where I met with the funeral musicians huddled around the fire.

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Straitjackets made of ceremonial military uniforms, a last etheral dance, digitised histories on 100 paper aeroplanes showing at WhiteBox Centre NYC

2. Hair lock  copy

This post looks at a few of the participating artists’ work on the challenging subject of sexual violence in times of conflict, taken from both a historical and global perspective.




Niamh Cunningham: Hair Lock Knitted artist’s hair 36 x 66 cm 2015 (Click on the side bar of this page for a short video about making this)

The first exhibition of the “Intimate Transgressions” project was launched at the WhiteBox gallery NYC on September 3rd. This multi media exhibition explores the human experience of war from a gender perspective and aims to give a better public understanding of the institutional and individual violence towards women which occurs during conflicts. The exhibition was presented by CAPA (Center for Asian Pacific Affairs) and WhiteBox Gallery.


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