International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the Bird Girls Exhibition


Last Saturday, November 25, was International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (http://www.un.org/en/events/endviolenceday/ ), and various events on the theme “violence against women” are now under way all over the world until December 10. For example, a large gathering of people holding candlesticks was held in Seoul on the evening of November 25, commemorating the Korean victims of Japanese military sex slavery. Concurrently similar events were also conducted in Tokyo, Hiroshima, and many other places in Japan.     

Needless to say, “violence against women” is not just a problem of the past: it is still happening, literally every day, in many places in the world. It is my belief that the recent upsurge of violence against women in our so-called civilized daily life is deeply inter-related to the current ongoing armed conflicts and terrorist attacks happening in many parts of the world.  

Recently in Japan, a horrific crime was revealed: within the short period of three months between August and October this year, a 27 year old man murdered eight young women and a boy, who was believed to be a boyfriend of one of those female victims. He dissected the bodies of all his victims and kept them in coolers in his apartment. This shocking series of events reminds us of one of Grimm’s gruesome Fairy Tales, Bluebeard, originally written by Charles Perrault. In this story a rich man nicknamed “Bluebeard” married many times, killing his wife each time in order to remarry. He kept the dead bodies of those women in a small room in the basement of his mansion. When a newly-wed young woman discovered what he had done he tried to kill her too. She released a homing pigeon with a message, asking her brother for help. Her brother immediately came to rescue her and saved her just as Bluebeard was about to murder her. (There are a few different versions of this story, and in some of the other versions she screamed, instead of using a pigeon, to call for help.)

In Australia, 73 women were officially recorded as the victims killed by violence against women in 2016. In 2015 the number was 86. The actual number of victims might well be far beyond those official statistics. In Australia the Victorian State Government has been vigorously campaigning against violence against women, and it now has a Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence. The Victoria State Government is now supporting various events commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. On the evening of November 25 “Bird Girls,” an art exhibition that is one of those events, opened in Melbourne. Its theme is taken from the story Bluebeard. It is held in the Foyer of Hamer Hall at the Melbourne Art Centre and will remain open until December 10.

The exhibition consists of 74 drawings of women with birds, representing 73 officially recorded victims of violence and one woman who symbolizes other unofficially recognized victims. Faceless women seem to symbolize the dehumanization of the victims of male violence, many cases of which are sexual violence.   

The artist is Alisa Noe Tanaka-King, who happens to be our younger daughter. (With her middle name, Noe, Alisa is named after Ito Noe, a Japanese anarchist, social critic, author and feminist, who was very active during the so-called Taisho Democracy period between the early 1910s and ’20s.)

Alisa’s Speech at the Opening of the Exhibition
Detailed information on Alisa’s ‘The Bird Girls’ project is available at the following blog.                    






オーストラリアでも、昨年1年間で、公式統計上、73人の女性が男性の暴力の犠牲になって亡くなっています。一昨年は、その数は86名でした。しかし、公式統計に含まれていない犠牲者も多くいますので、実際の犠牲者数はこれよりはるかに多いと思われます。オーストラリアのビクトリア州政府(メルボルンが州都)も、最近は「女性に対する暴力」問題解決のためのキャンペーンにひじょうに力を入れており、州政府には「家庭内暴力担当大臣」もいます。ビクトリア州政府は、「女性に対する暴力撤廃国際デー」のための企画行事の一つとして、一昨夕、The Bird Girls<鳥と女性>展覧会』の開会式を行いました。


この絵の作家の名前は Alisa Tanaka-King (田中キング 愛利然)で(ちなみに彼女のミドル・ネームは「Noe (野枝)」で、彼女の父親が「伊藤野枝」からもらってつけました)で、偶然にもその父親とはこの私です(笑)。メルボルンまでこれらの絵を見に来ていただければ本人にとってはとても光栄なことと思いますが、それは無理ですので、お時間があるときにでも彼女のこのプロジェクトのブログを観ていただければ、決して無関係でない私としても嬉しいです。
The Bird Girls

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