Interrogating Histories – Intimate Transgressions in Taipei



This scene was raised by more than a few visitors to the exhibition….. the change of guards at the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall marching in ceremonial uniform past an exhibition dealing with sexual violence during times of war .



In the background is Song Xin’s “Adam and Eve Updated” a collage of historical images relating to the issues surrounding comfort women.


The exhibition in Taipei was the fourth rendition (previously shown in New York, Beijing and Hangzhou) with the project evolving and growing with each destination.


The Taipei local curator Leon Tsai introduced local artists and collaborated with international curator Fion Gunn for the project.



particip-arts-p-1participating-artists-p-2Sixty two artists participated representing 14 nationalities.

Intimate Transgressions is a project presented by Sam Chen of CAPA the Centre for Asian Pacific Affairs based in Flushing NYC. “We hope the exhibition will highlight the seriousness of the issue …..and that the project will act as a tool for the transformation of public perception.”

TV Clip of the opening day

The exhibition attracted a huge footfall with thousands of visitors passing through the halls.  In addition to this daily guided tours were given to  the general public .









Heidi Lynn our impressive assistant guided colleges and school tours also. This was an opportunity to talk a little about the curation of the exhibition, for example how Atsuko Nakamura’s latex dress with skin like sutures echoed the nearby stitches of Lin Jingjing’s rose petals. After taking visitors past two expansive floors of the exhibition many people would linger for more questions and further conversation.







For such a challenging subject the project has always aimed to be welcoming . It was moments like those when you know the exhibition was doing it’s work .

For more images on the Taipei exhibition please click here











One evening after the exhibition hall closed we went to an event hosted by the Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation which was raising both awareness and funds for the new AMA museum. (Ama meaning grandmother  is now used as a generic term by the Rescue Centre to refer to comfort woman in Taiwan )We also learned about the role of the foundation over the past two decades in taking care of the declining number of Ama women as well as currently providing support for victims of human trafficking and domestic abuse.

That night they showed the documentary film they made 8 years ago when there were more surviving Ama women and the kind of projects they were working on with them . Since 1992 58 grandmothers emerged and the centre has provided them support but only 3 survive today. Above is international exhibition facilitator Steve Chen, Taipei Artist Pong Yalun, specialist with the Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation Hsin Chang, artist Atsuko Nakamura  and myself. (photo taken by Heidi Lynn local assistant).



Later that evening we had the unexpected honor to meet the lovely 91 yrs Lian Hua Ama.

On Saturday the 29th there was a busy day with a symposium of events at the auditorium hall, a dance performance by TNUA choreographed by Xu Jin , an artist presentation where local artists spoke on their work.  The performance ‘Hitomi’ is one woman show written and performed by Kazuko Yokoi about the experiences of Comfort Women. In the evening the documentary film made by the Womens Rescue foundation was shown and a panel discussion for film makers including artist Gao Yuan whose work was the planted seed for this expansive project.

niamh-4-copy niamh-3-copy







A two minute video on making my work the ‘Hair Lock’ for Intimate Transgressions Project 中文字幕

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