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257 Second Street
Palisades Park, New Jersey,07650
The mission of the Palisades Park Public Library is to provide our public with insight to enrich mind and spirit, and encourage a lifetime love of learning. We aim to inform, educate and enrich our community through inclusion of our diversities and commonaliti... more.
Program Coordinator and ESL Instructor
Butterfly Fund ,
Palisades Park Public Library - (201) 585-4150 - 257 Second Street Palisades Park, NJ
Program Coordinator & ESL Instructor
Creations of Courage and Conviction: Westwood Artist Steven Cavallo
When Steven Cavallo broke his hand last autumn, he didn't let it stop him. He painted through the pain because not to paint would have pained him even more. For this artist, a graduate of New York's School of Visual Arts, art is an essential expression of the human condition and he feels the driving compulsion to give voice not only to his own vision, but to those whose stories may otherwise remain buried in oppressive silence. "I hope that my works bring a powerful message to the viewers. They are mostly large watercolors speaking on human issues such as immigration, war and abuse. Although the work is dark in subject matter, I hope there is an underlying beauty beneath the horrors mankind has brought about," Cavallo says. "I try to always paint what is on my mind and in my heart," he continues. Cavallo first learned of the existence of comfort women from a Korean neighbor in 1991. Intrigued to explore the issue further, he eventually teamed with historian Dai Sil Kim-Gibson, who wrote the book Silence Broken, featuring interviews with comfort women victims. In 2008, Cavallo exhibited a series of watercolor paintings depicting the inhumanity and atrocities of wartime crimes; among these paintings were stories of the comfort women. During that exhibit, one question kept being asked: "What good does it do to bring up these old stories?" The plight of the comfort women may seem a lifetime and world away from Cavallo's own reality as a white, middle-aged male enjoying a comfortable Bergen County lifestyle painting from his home studio in Westwood, yet for Cavallo, someone who has always championed the cause of human rights, it resonates with relevance. Married to a Korean woman and the loving father of two young adult women, Cavallo is struck by the vagaries of fate. "Who knows? In another time, another life, they might have been comfort women," says Cavallo, pondering the painful prospect. It's all very symbolic and powerful," says Arin Yoon, a photographer who has collaborated with Cavallo. Cavallo's artistic tendencies and influences were evident early on, fostered by his parents who encouraged regular "drawing hour" sessions for Cavallo and his siblings. Thanks to a friend of his father, who worked in a print shop, Cavallo would get gifts of high-quality scrap papers. "They were wonderful, so rich in different textures, and I would draw on them for hours," Cavallo recalls. Music also fueled his fierce passion for social activism. "When I was nine years old, my uncle gave me a Bob Dylan album and a Phil Ochs album, and I was amazed that people could sing and write songs with such important messages," Cavallo relates. Cavallo, who currently teaches ESL classes and watercolor classes at the Palisades Park Library, has no regrets. The "sale-ability" of his renderings does not overly concern him. Cavallo was a driving force behind the planning of the first memorial in the Western World dedicated to comfort women and designed the artwork on the memorial plaque that now stands in front of the Palisades Park Library. Most recently, he has enjoyed a critically acclaimed exhibit at Ridgefield's Gallery 1 & 9, and, along with fellow artist Shin-Young An, exhibited a series of paintings on comfort women titled "Come From the Shadows" at the Harriet & Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives at Queensborough Community College in Queens, New York. As part of the latter exhibit, two former comfort women traveled from Korea to join with two Holocaust survivors to help shed light on atrocities that took place during WWII both in Asia and Europe. The Queens exhibit was so well received it was held over twice, running from August 15, 2011 to January 2, 2012. "Steve has the ability to take an issue that was all but forgotten and utilize his talent in attracting the viewer's attention to receive a series of images that will never be forgotten. For now, Cavallo is excited about his ongoing efforts to bring the plight of the comfort women-and his art-to a larger audience. At the time of this writing, he was working on putting together a solo exhibit in Gwangju, South Korea. He hoped to fly there to attend the opening reception of the exhibit, which will run from May 10 to 22. Even as he draws inspiration from the past, Cavallo forges into the future with conviction and compassion. Brush stroke by brush stroke, one poignant portrait at a time, one forgotten story after another given eloquent visual testimony, he shines light on the darkness through the unflinching truth of his art. Nayda Rondonwrites frequently on lifestyle topics. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
January Issue: Comfort Women Celebrate 1000th Protest « KoreAm Journal – Korean America's Premier Magazine
The Holocaust Center also hosted a recent exhibition of "comfort women"-related art, titled "Come From the Shadows," in conjunction with artist Steve Cavallo and the New York-based Korean American Voters' Council. (Disclosure: The author's art was also part of the exhibition.)
Interview with Steven Cavallo, a classmate of the young boy.
Cavallo, an artist, created a series of paintings recalling the event. http://stevecavallo.deviantart.com/art/jeff-rosay-stoopball-incident-56035805 http://www.thinkorbeeaten.com/theknoll/audio/tobecavallo.mp3
The exhibit includes artwork by artist Steven Cavallo and the words of Comfort Women survivors.
Photographs by award winning photojournalist Yunghi Kim will be added after July 28. Comfort Woman survivor Bokdong Kim will visit the Glendale exhibit at a reception Monday, July 30, 6:30-8 p.m. She has testified at hearings in Austria, Japan and the United States, and founded the "Butterfly Fund," which helps victims of ongoing sexual violence in Congo and Uganda.
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