This will be the 30th year that Taipei National University of the Arts (TNUA, 國立臺北藝術大學) has held the Kuandu Arts Festival (關渡藝術節), an event that has become a showcase of arts and artists from all over the world. Officially opening on Sunday, events are already underway, with a packed program of cutting-edge theater, dance, visual arts and film, along with family-oriented market days selling everything from organic vegetables to handmade jewelry, running until Oct. 28.
The opening ceremony is titled TNUA Power 30: Taipei Walks Together in Art (北藝大Power 30: 台北藝起走．西門逗陣行), which will bring the event into the very heart of downtown Taipei. Starting from the plaza of Chungshan Hall (中山堂) at 12:30pm, the procession will circle around the front plazas of The Red House Theater (西門紅樓) and Wonderful Theater (真善美戲院). There will also be performances by professional troupes from both inside and outside the school.
Bigger and better
According to TNUA spokesperson Chen Hsuan-fu (陳宣甫), this year’s Kuandu Arts Festival will be the biggest ever and will include hundreds of events that span every aspect of creative endeavor.
Speaking about the aim of the arts festival, school principle Ju Tzong-ching (朱宗慶) said: “Good art is the result of an artist’s response to society: their imagination, criticism and expectation. If the courage to continually pursue an ideal can be realized in action, then it can produce the power to change society. This is the core spirit of this year’s Kuandu Arts Festival.”
The slogan for this year’s festival is “Action, Creation and Transformation,” forming the acronym ACT, an appropriate injunction to the aspiring artists studying at the school.
Yesterday, one of the most anticipated elements of the festival kicked off with the opening of the 4th Kuandu Film Festival (關渡國際電影節), with films divided into four main categories: TNUA Student Films, Grand Masters of Cinema, Indian Film Program and Asian Film Academies. The Grand Masters section features the work of early Taiwanese cinematic pioneer Lee Hsing (李行), who this year received an honorary doctorate from the school for his contribution to Taiwan’s film industry. The program of Indian films will provide an opportunity for audiences in Taiwan to gain a deeper knowledge of Indian cinema and the directors working outside the Bollywood tradition. The two other elements are primarily for students, but are also open to the public. The film festival runs until Oct. 19 with screenings at the The Ecological Arts Complex Movie Theatre at TNUA (國立臺北藝術大學藝文生態館). Free tickets are available at the venue.
New Media and traditional arts
Another section of particular interest for art lovers is New Media, featuring a selection of innovative productions. Opening tomorrow is Soapera, a dance performance by internationally renowned choreographer of contemporary dance, Mathilde Monnier, and French modern visual arts master, Dominique Figarella, who go to town with a bunch of soapsuds, through which they create a constantly changing environment on stage.
Opening tomorrow is also the Alumni Chamber Music Selection Program, which invites outstanding alumni of TNUA’s music department to come back to their alma mater to perform.
Traditional arts are also on display, and the Department of Traditional Music will put on a nanguan (南管) production of Watching Lanterns (睇燈) a highlight from the classic opera Chen San Wu Niang (陳三五娘) next Friday.
In the area of visual arts, there is the Kuandu Biennial — Artists in Wonderland (藝想世界 — 關渡雙年展), which brings together 10 artists and curators from different countries and cultural backgrounds across Asia, and also an exhibition of traditional kites.
A Super Arts Market (超級藝術市場), with a host of free events, will be held on Oct. 13 and Oct. 14 between 10am and 6pm at the TNUA campus, and an Open Day Leisure Tour of the campus will be held on Oct. 17, providing an insiders look at the university.
There is far too much going on at the Kuandu Arts Festival, including both free and paid events, to go into detail here, but fortunately there is extensive Chinese and English information available at kdarts.tnua.edu.tw.