Kumiko S. McKee - In This Life - Statement

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In This Life
Exhibition Statement by Artist

On 9/11, nearly 3,000 families in the U.S. and a number from overseas learned that a loved one would not return. An instant of pain. Personally or in some way or another, we have all been affected by the terrible act of that day. We also were involved in the violence that continues to propagate in the many events related to 9/11, especially the war in Iraq. Nine years after 9/11 and towards the end of the Iraq war, The U.S. continues to be engaged in wars abroad and political struggles at home that have come to define the beginning of this new century.

While the outcome will be written by history, many people have been killed in the war including American and coalition troops, Iraqi civilians and children, journalists and bystanders. Bombings, shootings, suicide attacks, kidnappings, abuses, murder. An estimated 4,416 U.S. troops, 315 troops from other countries, and 9,676 from the Iraqi Security Forces have died in the war. We don't know what the real death toll of Iraqi civilians, but it is said to be between 100,000 and one million since the start of the Iraq war in 2003 according to the latest info from icasualties.org (http://icasualties.org/iraq/index.aspx ).

Whatever position is taken and regardless of the reason, it is clear that “people are killing each other”. Misery and great sorrow follow any war. Behind these events, many innocent children have lost their parents and many people have lost a child, family member, or friend. The feeling of grief over losing someone you love and care about is the same everywhere in the world regardless of culture and religion.

As an artist, I thought this is the time to visualize the reality. No more can be said without stopping to view our actions. Regardless of our position on the war and the surrounding political and religious events, how do we process the death we attest to daily? What effect does the killing of each other have on us as human beings? How will future generations report our actions? Is it possible to develop meaning for what we do?

This exhibition determines to raise these difficult questions from the personal views. In this life we have lived. It is this life we will remember.

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This exhibition contains some paintings from the 3 artists exhibition held at FCMOCA in 2007, which each artist shared his or her particular outlook on the events from the vantage of different backgrounds— Miguel Tio from Dominican Republic, Felipe Enchivera from the United States, and myself from Japan.

The paintings here contain a strong message for the world and each subject is handled with care and sensitivity. This show will provoke thought, debate, and reflection on our times. The goal of this exhibition is to promote discussion and also to remember the victims of 9/11 and the Iraq war with hope that these tragic events of war never happen again while hoping for world peace.

Kumiko S. McKee