In this artwork, I wanted to reveal the implications of dictatorship: how violence gets censored. Inspired by the Gwangju Uprising that happened in South Korea on May 18, 1980, which could be called the older brother of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, and the 2021 Myanmar Crackdowns. Even though this event should have made headlines around the world like the latter two, it was covered up by the authoritarian regime. People who grew up in South Korea in the 1980s, even my own mother and father, would not learn the full truth, such as the brutal beatings and shootings, until the late 1980s when the authoritarian regime was finally toppled. One noticeable feature that incorporated into this artwork would be the number of squares occupying certain areas. I purposely used solid colored squares over my graphic art since I wanted to portray the message that such an event was “covered” up by the dictatorship. The medium of this artwork would be acrylic paint.
The motive behind my painting was to portray the true horrors and oppression the Korean people faced in the 1980s when the country was run by an authoritarian regime, which is similar to the oppression conflict in Myanmar today. Even though Korea had prevailed and became a fully democratic nation, I wanted to make an impact with my drawing by showing the difficulty and struggle in order to achieve this freedom. For this specific painting, I incorporated a half black and white effect to the colored picture in order to portray the message that these were gloomy times when the future of the country was bleak and uncertain. The medium of this artwork would be acrylic paint, in which I constantly mixed a bit of grey with the original colors to portray this ½ black and white mood.