Press conferences are usually staid affairs where one shows up, accepts the press kit, hears a couple of speeches about why the event is so unique and then goes home with materials in hand to whip up an article.
Last week, there was a press conference to announce the opening of the Shihmen Reservoir Driftwood Sculpture Symposium. This event was quite unique in that the press received T-shirts, buttons and baseball hats instead of press kits. We were then taken on a cold, two-hour boat ride on the lake with nary a driftwood art sculpture in sight.
This unique approach was not aimed so much at the invited journalists, rather it was set up for the public to learn directly from the artists.
The gala opening ceremony with music performance will be held on Saturday, starting at 3pm.
Organized by the Guandu Museum of Fine Arts of the Taipei National University of Arts and supervised by the Northern Region Water Resources Office, Water Resources Agency, this is the second time the organizers have presented a driftwood sculpture show.
Last year's title was Fairy Tales in the Mountain. This year the title is Thousands of Woods for a Wish of Coming Back (sic). It includes diverse works by 10 local artists and 10 foreign artists. The only limitation is that the sculpture has to be at least 3m long.
The artists from Taiwan include three Amis wood carving artists: Ra Hei Zi Palifo (
Lai Chi-man (黎志文) was born in Hong Kong and worked in Carrara, Italy -- which is well known as a haunt for marble stone carvers. He is respected for his modernist-style sculptures, that have political messages.
Jun Lai (
What: International Driftwood Sculpture Festival
Where: Shihmen Reservoir, Taoyuan County
When: Opens Dec. 18
Contact: Howard Chen (陳浚豪),
on (0935) 797 807
Many of the international artists are accomplished stone or wood carvers. Martyn Barratt (UK) is a master stone and wood carver and in 1999 was elected to the Royal Society of British Sculptors. Jean-Paul Chablais (France) has shown his work in France, Germany, Belgium, and Turkey and participated in symposia around the world. Kamijo Fumiho from Japan is a professor at Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts.
Tawatchai Puntusawasdi (Thailand) gained attention for his design of the Thai pavilion for the Venice Biennale in 2003. Other artists include: Yong Myeon Kang (South Korea), Michael McGillis (US), Toomas Altnurme (Estonia), Adri A.C. de Fluite (Netherlands), Anusapati Ninus (Indonesia), and Antone Bruinsma (Australia).
Besides viewing the diverse driftwood sculptures, the impressive Shimen Reservoir is worth a visit.