JUSTICE FOR LAI DAI HAN MEMORIAL SCULPTURE NEARS COMPLETION
The sculpture, which honours all victims of sexual violence around the world, will be unveiled by Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad and displayed in central London
London, United Kingdom, May 23, 2019 – ‘Mother & Child’, a memorial sculpture in honour of all victims of sexual violence around the world, commissioned by the Justice for Lai Dai Han campaign, is nearing completion and will be unveiled next month. The sculpture has been designed, created and made by artist Rebecca Hawkins and will be unveiled by Nadia Murad, the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, at Church House, Westminster, on Tuesday 11th June 2019.
From Wednesday 12th June until Friday 27th July, the sculpture will be available to view, along with an exhibition on the Vietnam War and the Lai Dai Han, at the Gallery at 10 Hanover Street in central London. Following that, the sculpture will be displayed outdoors at a central London location to be announced in due course.
Jack Straw, former UK foreign secretary and international ambassador for JLDH, said:
“This is a fitting tribute to all victims of sexual violence, and especially the Lai Dai Han and their mothers who have for so long been crying out for recognition of their plight by the Government of South Korea. For too long these victims of Korean sexual violence have been forgotten and cast aside by society. We hope that this sculpture will serve as a constant reminder of the horrors of rape and war and will help to raise awareness of the Lai Dai Han and their struggle for justice.”
Rebecca Hawkins said:
“These women and their children have faced an enormous trial of strength through adversity. They stand up again and again to tell these intimate stories of how their lives were turned upside down, with such courage and dignity… meeting people with this kind of strength of human spirit is both humbling and inspirational and it has been an honour to tell their story through this sculpture.”
The Lai Dai Han are the thousands of dual heritage Korean-Vietnamese children born during the Vietnam War. Many of the Lai Dai Han were born as a result of sexual violence perpetrated by South Korean soldiers. JLDH represents the Lai Dai Han and their mothers, of which 800 are still alive today, who were allegedly violently sexually assaulted or raped by South Korean soldiers.
Between 1964 and 1973, some 320,000 South Korean soldiers were deployed to Vietnam to fight alongside the United States. South Korea has never recognised the allegations made against its troops and never investigated. Some of the women that allege they were raped were as young as 12 or 13 at the time.
‘Mother & Child’ is based on the concept of the Strangler Fig tree, a parasitic plant which takes over a host tree by entwining itself around its roots, trunk and branches, and is common in Vietnam. The mother represents one of the Vietnam War’s many victims of sexual assault at the hands of the South Korean soldiers. The child represents one of the Lai Dai Han, born as a result of these acts.
ABOUT THE LAI DAI HAN
The “Lai Dai Han” are the tens of thousands of children of Vietnamese women that were raped by South Korean soldiers during the Vietnam War. Between 1964 and 1973, some 320,000 South Korean soldiers were deployed to Vietnam to fight alongside the United States.
Justice for Lai Dai Han gives a voice to the victims and their children and campaigns for South Korea to recognise and investigate the allegations of widespread rape and sexual violence.
Justice for Lai Dai Han works with policy makers, writers and artists to ensure this injustice is finally recognised, alongside fundraising efforts on behalf of the Lai Dai Han and their families.
Our work seeks to raise public awareness, to allow political and community leaders to connect with the victims of sexual violence to understand their suffering first hand, and to create public art as a permanent reminder of the plight of the Lai Dai Han.
ABOUT REBECCA HAWKINS
Based in Wiltshire, Rebecca creates artwork which explores the strength and courage of the human spirit. Rebecca is especially interested in the notion of what it means to feel empowered for women who are born into more challenging environments, and of the concept of Physis: “the determination to grow and survive”, for people across the world facing social and environmental hardship.
In 2015, Rebecca was commissioned to create a memorial to mark 200 years of Gurkha services to the British Armed Forces, which was unveiled by Joanna Lumley. She was shortlisted for the prestigious PMSA Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture.
ABOUT ‘MOTHER & CHILD’
‘Mother and Child’ is a memorial to all victims of sexual violence around the world. It is based on the concept of the Strangler Fig tree, a parasitic plant which takes over a host tree by entwining itself around its roots, trunk and branches, and is common in Vietnam. The mother represents one of the Vietnam War’s many victims of sexual assault at the hands of the South Korean soldiers. The child represents one of the Lai Dai Han, born as a result of these acts.
The tree metaphor has the mother rooted to the spot, leaning forward, trying but unable to move forward. The child comes from another tree, roots from a different place (signifying South Korean fathers) but is entwined with her in a loving, tender and sheltering manner.
The mother’s tender and protective hand on the child’s head speaks of the unbreakable bond and unconditional love between a mother and her child, even though the child is a constant reminder of something awful that happened; an act which, although traumatic, gave her a child she has battled to bring up, and loves. The sculpture signifies the juxtaposition between these conflicting events and emotions.
Scale model of ‘Mother & Child’