The 2006 Asia-Pacific Traditional Arts Festival, which starts on Saturday in Ilan County, will try to raise awareness of the diversity of cultural heritage, the organizers said at a press conference yesterday.
More than 20 local and foreign performing groups will showcase the richness of traditional cultural resources in the Asia-Pacific region, they said.
Taiwanese have long valued Western culture and have "neglected" the rich cultural assets of neighboring countries, according to the National Center for Traditional Arts (NCFTA).
The event, which runs from Saturday until Sept. 3, will include artistic performances, demonstration lectures, special exhibits and academic seminars.
Four foreign groups to be highlighted at the event are the Muqam Art Ensemble from China's Xinjiang Province, the Yuanshe Water Puppet Troupe from Vietnam, a group from Thailand performing Ramayana traditional dance and the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts from South Korea.
The groups will perform for three weeks on a tour that will also take them to Taipei, Taoyuan, Tainan, Kaohsiung and Taitung.
Also on the performing list will be more than a dozen local groups, such as the Ju Percussion Group, the Lan Yang Dancers and various groups of the Songjiang Battle Array.
The event will focus on the topic of "Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity" in response to the "Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage," which was adopted by UNESCO in 2003 and entered into force in April.
In addition to artistic performances, an international conference will discuss the topic of "East Asian music and modern-ity." An exhibition on traditional percussion instruments of the Asia-Pacific area will also be held from Saturday to Sept. 30 at the NCFTA.
In the past four festivals, groups from more than 20 countries gave more than 500 performances.
The festival covers music, dance, fine arts, drama, crafts and installation art, and is one of the biggest platforms of Asian art.