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Frenchman’s tribute to Nanjing victims

French oil painter Christian Poirot is visiting Nanjing, whose tragic wartime history has inspired a new painting series.

“Honestly, in the past, I knew nothing about the Nanjing Massacre and the history of forced comfort women during the Japanese invasion of China (during World War II),” said the 56-year-old painter.

A friend told him that 300,000 Chinese people were killed in Nanjing after the city fell into Japanese hands. He was shocked, and decided to create a painting. In December 2015, he donated a painting measuring 2.35 meters tall by 7.46 meters wide to the Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders.

The painting depicts the violence that occurred during the 1937 massacre, confronting viewers with the bloody ordeal suffered by the victims.

He visited Nanjing again last month and based his work out of a museum built on the former site of a “comfort women” station at Liji Lane in Nanjing to create the comfort women series. He has created three paintings there.

“My heart was deeply touched when I looked at historical photos of comfort women in the museum.

Painting the bitterness of their tortured lives is my tribute to those women who still live with painful memories. I hope the work can call for peace for humankind,” said Poirot.

He said he would continue the comfort women series after he returns to France.

Poirot plans to donate the comfort women series to the Nanjing Memorial Hall ahead of December 13 to coincide with the commemoration of China’s national memorial day for victims in the Nanjing Massacre.

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