About | Mother and Child

Mother and Child is a memorial, created by British artist Rebecca Hawkins, in dedication of the Lai Dai Han and all survivors of sexual violence around the world. It is based on the concept of the Strangler Fig tree, a parasitic plant which takes over a host tree by entwining itself around its roots, trunk and branches, and is common in Vietnam. The mother represents one of the Vietnam War’s many victims of sexual assault at the hands of the South Korean soldiers. The child represents one of the Lai Dai Han, born as a result of these acts.

The tree metaphor has the mother rooted to the spot, leaning forward, trying but unable to move forward. The child comes from another tree, roots from a different place (signifying South Korean fathers) but is entwined with her in a loving, tender and sheltering manner.

The mother’s tender and protective hand on the child’s head speaks of the unbreakable bond and unconditional love between a mother and her child, even though the child is a constant reminder of something awful that happened; an act which, although traumatic, gave her a child she loves. The sculpture signifies the juxtaposition between these conflicting events and emotions.

In June 2019, Mother & Child was officially unveiled at a special event with 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Nadia Murad, a victim of sexual violence at the hands of the so – called Islamic State.

The event was held in Westminster to raise awareness of the crucial steps that need to be taken by countries, governments, and non -profit groups around the world to prevent sexual violence in conflict. The event was convened by Justice for Lai Dai Han and attended by over 150 representatives of the British government, Members of Parliament, international non – profits, charities and academics.

Following the event, the sculpture was put on display to the public in an art gallery alongside an exhibit about the Lai Dai Han and global efforts to end sexual violence in conflict for good. The sculpture was then moved to St. James’s Square in Westminster, where it has been on display since.