Renowned Irish-American artist Maureen Gaffney-Wolfson explained that she tried to depict Yoo Gwan-sun who bravely headed towards hell on March 1, 1919. “Yoo’s will, bravery, and love towards her homeland are what we try to acquire in our lives,” she said.
The 75-year-old artist will be participating the "100th Anniversary Commemoration Exhibition for the March 1st Movement," which will be held between Feb. 26 and March 10 at the Proxy Place Gallery in Chatsworth, California, the U.S. According to the website of the Gallery, the theme of this exhibition where 12 local artists participate is "We cannot forget but we can forgive,” and will exhibit artworks related to the March 1st Movement.
Maureen said that she was not aware of the relevant details of the March 1st Movement until a close friend told her. The painter investigated Korea's independence movement for two months and someone came into her view, and it was Yoo Gwan-sun, the artist added. "My heart broke into pieces when reading the part that 16-year-old Yoo was held in contempt and tortured in prison.
In Maureen's painting, Yoo is looking straight, with her left hand holding a book and her right hand on her chest clutching on to the national flag of Korea. The artist also imagined Yoo opening the heaven’s door and entering it. A foreign painter drawing Korea’s independence activist is not common. Maureen explained the process of such imagination., saying that Yoo Gwan-sun knew that the earth was not the final sanctuary and that god must have smiled at her.
"The March 1st Movement was a non-violent movement to gain independence from Japanese colonial rule," said the Proxy Place Gallery. "This exhibition shall not remain at reminiscing on what happened in Korea but to look back at global resistance activities with aspirations towards freedom."