When student activists stormed and occupied the Legislative Yuan in March 2014, professional and amateur photographers and videographers flocked to the scene to capture what came to be known as the Sunflower movement. Among these were a small number of expats, some shooting for foreign media outlets, others covering it for personal interest. The occupation lasted for 23 days, with the students leaving voluntarily on April 10, 2014.
“Some of us were on the fringes looking in, some of us occasionally dipped in deeper, and some were right in the middle of it from the start,” says filmmaker Tobie Openshaw, who was shooting for a few news organizations.
Openshaw adds that expats provide a different angle since many were less concerned or aware of the politics involved, instead paying more attention to things like police behavior and the impressive infrastructure put together in a short time to support the protesters such as the food deliveries, charging stations, recycling and so on.
Photo courtesy of Kenny Paul
“For the most part, we were amazed, pleased and moved,” he says, especially compared to how such events turn out in their home countries.
To commemorate the 5th anniversary of the movement, Openshaw has put together a photo exhibition at the Red Room featuring his shots along with work by five other expat photographers and Jiho Chang (張之豪), who actively participated in the occupation. Chang was among the 22 activists sued by the government; the charges were later dropped. Openshaw and Chang will be giving talks at Sunday’s opening, with ample time reserved for questions and discussion.
■ Opening on Sunday from 4pm to 10pm, Red Room (紅坊國際村), 177 Jianguo S Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市建國南路一段177號). Exhibition runs through June 14
■ On the Net: www.facebook.com/events/981591572230753
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