NAGOYA, Japan -- On Oct. 8, an artwork called "After 'Freedom of Expression?'" at the Aichi Triennale 2019 returned like a long-lost friend who had moved away for undisclosed reasons. The exhibit, which had been shut down three days after the festival opened, was back by popular demand for a one-week showing, but only after weeks of uproar from journalists, citizens and fellow Triennale artists who pulled out their exhibits in solidarity.
The centerpiece of the controversy was "Statue of a Girl of Peace" by South Korean artists Kim Seo-kyung and Kim Eun-sung. The statue itself is purposely tame, depicting a teenage girl seated on a chair with her arms in her lap and a bird on her shoulder.