Asia Cruise (亞洲巡弋) is an ambitious group show that delivers a state of the union on Taiwanese contemporary art. Working with four East Asian curators, 14 established local artists bring works that represent some key political issues, special traits and aesthetic significance of art in Taiwan today. Pieces include paintings, installation and other mixed media organized under four themes: The Ghost Island, Evidence, Isolation and Object Matters.
■ Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts (關渡美術館), 1 Xueyuan Rd, Taipei City (台北市學園路1號), tel: (02) 2893-8870. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am to 5pm
■ Until Dec. 15
Photo courtesy of TFAM
Love, Always (永是有情人) is a memorial exhibition on prominent writer Chi Chun (琦君). On public display for the first time are her personal correspondence with readers and family, notes about major works, school certificates, favorite books and other personal belongings donated by her family upon her death in 2006. Born in 1917 in Zhejiang Province, Chi Chun fled to Taiwan in 1949 and garnered acclaim for her simple and tender prose. Her works have been used in textbooks and include the memoir Love, Always (永是有情人) and When the Orange Ripens (橘子紅了), a bestseller adapted into a 2001 television series.
■ National Museum of Taiwan Literature (國立台灣文學館), 1 Zhongzheng Rd, Tainan City (台南市中西區中正路1號), tel: (06) 221-7201, open Tuesdays to Sundays from 9am to 9pm
■ Until Feb. 9
Photo courtesy of Tina Keng Gallery
An uninspired student, David Chen (陳建維) had a bumpy start to life but went on to forge a successful career as a photojournalist. From the Ground to the Stars (原來我不是攝影師) is a solo exhibition of Chen’s star-studded portfolio, which includes S.H.E., Lee Tsung-sheng (李宗盛) and Jolin Tsai (蔡依林), as well as close-up portraits of unknown figures from his private life.
■ Taiwan International Visual Arts Center (TIVAC — 台灣國際視覺藝術中心), 16, Alley 52, Ln 12, 16 Bade Rd Sec 3, Taipei City (台北市松山區八德路三段12巷52弄16號), tel: (02) 2577-1781. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 11:30am to 7pm
■ Opens tomorrow. Until Dec. 1
Photo courtesy of TIVAC
In the solo exhibition Looking for Tao (尋道), Hong Mei-ling (洪美玲) displays paintings she completed between 1983 and 2013. Hong taught primary school for ten years before discovering western-style painting in 1977. She went on to pursue the art in San Francisco, where she encountered personal and professional challenges. The 131 paintings in her Looking for Tao series chronicle her search for a sure footing in California. The barren images are built with symbols and patterns seemingly rich with meaning, or perhaps only with its illusion.
■ Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM, 臺北市立美術館), 181, Zhongshan N Rd Sec 3, Zhongshan Dist, Taipei City, (臺北市中山區中山北路三段181號), tel: (02) 2595-7656
■ Until Nov. 24
Letters from a Distance (遙遠的信件) is a solo exhibition of pop art by Beijing-based artist Peng Wei (彭薇). Peng uses classic Chinese painting techniques to create everyday wearables like boots and slippers. In a project that gives the exhibition its name, Peng paints notes and poems of Western writers onto hand-mounted scrolls and Chinese album leaves, and then incases the lavish letters in carved boxes.
■ Tina Keng Gallery (耿畫廊), 15, Ln 548, Ruiguang Rd, Taipei City (台北市瑞光路548巷15號), tel: (02) 2659-0798. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am to 7pm
■ Opening reception tomorrow at 4:30pm. Until Nov. 17
With around 10,000 descendants packing the ancestral shrine every Tomb Sweeping Day, the Yeh family’s grand affair made a bid for the Guiness Book of World Records in 2016. They won’t be coming even close on Saturday. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, less than 30 people will be attending and conducting the rituals. “We hope that our ancestors don’t take offense,” branch association head Yeh Lun-tsai (葉倫在) tells the Liberty Times (sister paper of the Taipei Times). Tomb Sweeping Day activities can potentially aggravate the spread of the virus as large groups congregate in cemeteries and columbariums at the same
In terms of life expectancy for its citizens, in recent decades Taiwan has caught up with and overtaken a number of Western countries. According to the most recent edition of the CIA’s World Factbook, Taiwanese now live longer than Americans, Czechs and Poles. Of course, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may shake up the rankings. Taiwan’s single-payer healthcare system, set up in 1995, is one reason why people here can stay healthy for a long time. Before the postwar Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime introduced the piecemeal health-insurance schemes (covering government employees, farmers, and others) that preceded the universal system, sick people
Nowhere are the effects of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) postwar Sinification campaign more visible than in the toponymic revisions that the regime undertook after assuming power. Taipei’s streets were renamed after Chinese cities or quintessentially Chinese values, and with the kind of self-aggrandizing flourish to which the party was partial, the process even referenced itself, Guangfu (光復) — which translates as “retrocession” — becoming a mainstay of urban nomenclature. Above all, the KMT’s top brass was memorialized: the given names of Sun Yat-sen (孫中山) and Chiang Kai-shek (蔣中正) — Zhongshan (中山) and Zhongzheng (中正) — were conferred on locations
April 6 to April 12 Han Chinese settlers from Zhangzhou and Quanzhou were such fierce rivals that simple activities such as buying supplies for festivals would often result in armed violence. It’s said that this was especially severe just before Tomb Sweeping Festival, and to prevent bloodshed Qing Dynasty officials ordered them to conduct their rituals on different days. This is not unlike the government urging people to visit their ancestors’ graves on days other than yesterday’s official Tomb Sweeping Day, also known as the Qingming Festival, to curb the spreading of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the Chinese Nationalist Party