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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Taiwan Indigenous artists showcase work in New Zealand

An exhibition of Indigenous art opened July 6 in New Plymouth, New Zealand with support from Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture, highlighting the government’s commitment to promoting cultural understanding domestically and internationally.

“Without centre, without limits,” hosted at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre, features the work of Lafin Sawmah, Eleng Luluan, Akac Orat and Malay Makakazuwa. The MOC said that the exhibition’s name references a way of thinking freed from the colonial mindset that draws boundaries and homogenizes identities.

The artists’ pieces explore diverse concepts including collective responsibility and community spirit; the inseparability of human society from land and sea; and the unbreakable link between the past, present and future.

Representing her late husband Lafin Sawmah, Heidi Yip said that his work demonstrates the deep feelings he held toward the ocean. The Amis tribe to which he belonged had nearly lost its shipbuilding knowledge, but Yip said Lafin felt reinvigorated by experiencing the historical and modern Maori connections to seafaring.

Rattan weaver Akac Orat of the Pinuyumayan and Amis tribes contributed “Heart of Fern,” which evokes a forest trail. The work incorporates spiral motifs inspired by ferns, echoing a pattern frequently seen in Maori culture. The art of Pinuyumayan artist Malay Makakazuwa also takes up these spiral shapes and explores their links with Taiwan’s Indigenous cultures in her work “Shapeshifter.”

“Nobody Is Other,” a large three-dimensional textile work by Rukai artist Eleng Luluan, was directly influenced by the time she spent in New Zealand for a residency coordinated by the Pacific island country and Taiwan. The piece reflects her feelings of witnessing climate change’s profound impact on the local area.

Joanne Ou, head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New Zealand, said at the opening ceremony that the show symbolized the shared roots and shared values of Taiwan and New Zealand’s Indigenous peoples. The four featured artists have transcended geographical barriers to integrate elements of New Zealand and Maori culture with that of their homeland, Ou said. (POC-E)

Write to Taiwan Today at ttonline@mofa.gov.tw

from Taiwan Today – Top News

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