Sun, Jan 09, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Japanese artist offering rickshaw tours of village

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

Visitors to Treasure Hill, a former veterans’ community in Taipei City’s Gongguan (公館) area that was turned into an arts village, will have a chance to tour the hill and Gongguan in an alternative way after a Japanese artist started offering traditional rickshaw tours in the area.

The craft artist, 28-year-old Hirofumi Masuda, who is now living in the village as a resident artist, said the rickshaw tour was his latest work to change the traditional relationship between audience and artist by directly interacting with visitors.

Dressed up as a traditional Japanese rickshaw worker, Masuda pulled the rickshaw, which took him over a month to make, around the area for more than 20 rounds yesterday while introducing the village to visitors.

“Art is more than visiting art galleries or museums. Works of art that can stimulate interactions between the artist and his or her audience can also be art,” Masuda said.

Masuda’s free rickshaw tour will be offered today and on Tuesday, Wednesday and the following weekend. Tours last about 15 to 20 minutes. The artist also invited visitors to walk alongside the rickshaw if they do not want to wait.

Masuda is one of the 14 artists invited by the Treasure Hill Artist Village’s operation center to live in the village and share their works of art with the neighborhood. The village, which was reopened in October last year after a two-year renovation, also includes two exhibition rooms and two rehearsal rooms, center director Su Yao-hua (蘇瑤華) said.

The village used to be home to veterans of the Chinese Civil War who fled to Taiwan with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) about 60 years ago, and was once packed with aging and illegal structures built by the residents.

The Taipei City Government initiated the renovation project in 2007 after the New York Times in 2006 named it one of the must-see destinations in Taiwan.

Su said the community is still home to 22 families, who moved back to Treasure Hill after its renovation, and the artists are encouraged to take the community and its residents as the main inspiration for their works of art.

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