We cannot forget but we can forgive
March 1st Movement Commemoration
Piece No. 1
Piece No. 2
Lest We Forget
Proxy Place Gallery is pleased to announce Lest We Forget, an exhibition commemorating the 100th anniversary of the March First Movement of 1919 that took place in Korea.
The March First Movement, also called the Samil Independence Movement, was comprised of a series of non-violent demonstrations for Korean national independence from Japanese colonization. This movement, which started in Seoul, became a force that spread across the entire country.
The purpose of this exhibition is not only to remember what happened in Korea, but to begin thinking of similar protests around the world—then and now—that are motivated by a desire for freedom. It is through a reflection of the minutiae of the past that we can engage with the concerns of today. It prompts us to keep in mind both the tragedy that brought about the Korean independence movement, and the moral fortitude of those who led the movement.
Since reflecting on the past might help us avoid conflicts in the future, we must shine a light on these events in hopes of revealing solutions to our commonly held problems. Reflecting upon history helps to humanize the past through the telling of individual stories and engaging our empathy. In doing so, it prompts us to keep in mind the moral tragedy that brought about the Korean independence movement.
The exhibition invites artists from around the world to share and express their thoughts on this topic through art. The gallery will work with local newspapers and radio stations to bring attention to the Samil Independence Movement and the broader struggle for freedom that is shared by many millions throughout the world in the past and in the present.
Maureen Gaffney Wolfson, one of the twelve artists responded as follows to the question: How did you come to paint the 1919 March 1 Movement?
“I was not aware of the history of the March 1, Movement until It was brought to my attention by a dear friend. I went home and for approximately two months researched the event. The one person that became embedded in my mind was Yu Gwan Soon. My heart broke in two after I read about how she was imprisoned at sixteen, was scorned and tortured. She was so young and courageous, and never gave up her cause and what she believed in. I felt a very strong spiritual connection with her throughout, as I painted her images. She is now embedded and part of my being. She is in my thoughts daily. Yu Gwan Soon courageously marched into hell that day of March 1, 1919. Her strength, her courage and her love of her country is something we all want in our lives. To be able to live our lives by that principle, loving others, respecting our freedom and our freedom of religion and each other’s cultures is the key to a peaceful co-existence. We know we must not forget but we need to forgive to have a future on this planet.
Yu Gwan Soon knew that earth would not be her final resting place. Because her faith was so pure and her heart so lovingly dedicated to her country, God smiled on her and she is now at peace with her maker and her goal on here on earth has been fulfilled and her soul lives on.”
Remembering is a way of moving forward, as creating is a way of manifesting hope. The gallery will work with local newspapers and radio stations to bring attention to the Samil Independence Movement and to begin a conversation of the broader struggle for freedom and justice in today’s society.
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