Sat, Sep 21, 2002 - Page 2 News List

Renowned artist decries lack of government help

CULTURE The founder of Cloud Gate Dance Theater says he accepts an award for his contribution to Taiwan's arts scene with a heavy heart and worries for the future

By Sandy Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan's arts and culture scene is in a worrisome state and the government ought to take the issue seriously and act promptly before the arts are further debased in Taiwanese society, a renowned artist warned yesterday.

"Noting the lack of funds, resources and support systems from the government, I am deeply concerned about where Taiwan's cultural and arts scene will be in the next three to five years," said Lin Hwai-min (林懷民), founder and choreographer of Taiwan's premier dance group, Cloud Gate Dance Theater (雲門舞集).

Lin made the remarks during his acceptance speech at the 6th Annual National Cultural and Arts Awards, where he was lauded as one of the four award winners for the dance troupe's distinguished contribution to Taiwan's culture.

Lin, a key figure in Taiwan's modern dance movement, began his professional career in 1973 with Cloud Gate. His troupe now travels throughout Taiwan and has done a number of world tours.

Sponsored by the National Culture and Arts Foundation (NCAF, 國家文化藝術基金會), the award presentation was held at the Red House Theater (紅樓劇場), a recently revamped and reopened performance venue in Taipei City.

"I receive this award with a heavy heart," Lin told his audience, which included Council of Cultural Affairs chairwoman Tchen Yu-hsiu (陳郁秀) and Chen Chi-nan (陳其南), president of the NCAF. "For this year is a year of winter for Tai-wan's culture and arts scene.

"Aside from obvious struggles that artists have to go through, [the government's recent downsizing plan] is like adding frost to snow," Lin said.

He cited Taiwan's movie, publishing and art exhibition industries as examples of cultural industries that are being hurt due to lack of funding and support from the government.

More and more Taiwanese artists are reluctant to stage their performances in Taiwan, he said, because of the lack of cultural interest from the public and because they are afraid of losing money.

Tchen, who delivered her speech following Lin's, said that she shared Lin's concern.

"What Lin has mentioned is, in fact, a nightmare to me everyday; for it is something that has me deeply concerned as well," said Tchen, a acclaimed pianist herself.

Tchen said she hopes all the artists will work together to break through obstacles ahead.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) made an appearance at the beginning of the award presentations. He lauded the award winners' persistence in their work and their lifetime contributions in promoting Taiwan's culture and arts.

The other three winners this year are: writer Chen Chien-wu (陳千武), painter Xiao Chin (蕭勤) and Traditional Taiwanese puppeteer Huang Hai-dai (黃海岱).

Chen is renowned for conveying vivid depictions of the wartime era, human nature and life theosophy through his literary works.

Xiao has been lauded for introducing Oriental perspective in his art work during a span of more than 40 years abroad.

Huang, 103, was awarded for bringing a traditional performing art, puppet theater, into the mainstream of popular culture.

Huang Chun-hsiung (黃俊雄), the second son of Huang Hai-dai, received the award on behalf of the elder Huang.

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