Popular and vigorous: the New Taiwan Mural Team
JIANG Yaoxian (Translated by Mon WONG)
The New Taiwan Mural Team was founded in 2010 in the White Cabin Art Village at the Kio-A-Thau Sugar Plant. A white cabin was erected by using wood beams 64 pieces of 4’’ x 8’’ plywood panel, and artists with a consciousness of Taiwanese imageries were invited to create as a team effort. The name of the project was “Building a White Cabin”. In 2011, the “Building a White Cabin” project leaders initiated the “Taiwan Ex-situ Creative Project” and the “Back to the Countryside Project”. In 2012, they participated in the 311 Disaster Area Art Accompany Project in Ishinomaki, Japan as well as the “International Ex-situ Creative Project” in Venice, Italy. Over 150 artists have participated in these projects thus far, and the numbers are still growing.
The “Building a White Cabin” project perhaps is more like building a temple or a school. The so-called publicness is no longer the kind of pleading publicness that depends on the whims of government policies, but rather a self-conscious and self-initiated public demand and creativity. For example, if we were to build a Mazu Temple, the decision to build it wouldn’t depend on whether there was government funding, but would rather base on whether the people had the demand and consensus. A good example was during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan. When the local Taiwanese gentries at the time asked and funded a school to be built, it was based on the need for cultural and knowledge competition, not on the opinion of the colonial rulers. In turn, the exploration of Taiwanese contemporary artistic formats and expressions by the “New Taiwan Mural Team”, as well as the discussion generated by its artistic expressive format vis-à-vis the acts of artistic publicness are in fact the common anxiety and confusion of our time. To put it more blankly, what kind of artistic energy does Taiwan need? What is the relationship between artistic expression and the public? By using this particular art movement, we can actually try to make an impact.
JIANG Yaoxian 蔣耀賢 is currently the CEO of White Cabin Art Village at Kio-A-Thau Sugar Plant, General Director of Taiwan Art Development Association and Managing Supervisor of Golden Sugarcane Film Festival. He enrolled in the Institute of Art Studies at National Cheng Kung University in 1994 and at the same time went back home to co-found Kio-A-Thau Culture Historical Society, devoting himself to the work of community building. He initiated the establishment of Kio-A-Thau Art Village in 2001, founded Taiwan Field Factory in 2004 and started Golden Sugarcane Film Festival in 2006. He and a group of friend organized and established “White Cabin” in 2008 and in 2010 he became the curator of “New Taiwan Mural Team”.
Mon WONG is a freelance translator.