Posted on 29 Sep 2016
The field research has been stopped two days because of Typhoon Megi. The 2016 artists thus had more days to reflect upon the ways for their artwork to exist in the context of the weather patterns in Taiwan. The second week of field work focuses on the Tamsui River, with the intention of bringing the perspective to a larger scope, to see the dynamic relationships among different places.
On Sep. 29, we visited Shezi Island to learn from its ecology and culture. Last year, two artists from the Guandu art project came to Shezi to create their artwork. They were taken care of by the community with great hospitality. Today the mothers from the community also greeted us with big smiles and generosity. They invited the artists to make small figurines with rice powder, which is a tradition in the local area. They also made delicious lunch for us, and showed us around the temples, old houses, and wetlands. Shezi has been facing similar issues as Guandu: it used to be a fruit and veg supplier to Greater Taipei, yet its role decreased because of the expansion of cities. Many lands are waiting to be developed. If the landscape of Shezi is gone, the historical and ecological meaning of Guandu will definitely become weaker.
Shezi is a place with history and warm hospitality. The community was much influenced by their working experience with the artists last year, finding that art can be in everyday life instead of in a far-away museum. A grandma from here showed us her drawings on the scenes of Shezi in the old days, such as taking ferry across the Tamsui River with buffalos, livestock walking on the farms and eagles flying in the sky, and the colorful vegetables planted at the backyard. These local stories were glossed over; however we still felt the treasures in them. What really matters in the Guandu art project is not just beautiful artworks, but the true stories behind the lands, and the people who really care for her.