Mon, Nov 21, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Young Atayal children’s photos help to raise funds for new community center

By Carina Koen  /  Staff Reporter

Two photographs are displayed at an auction in Taipei yesterday taken by nine-year-old Moura, left, and 11-year-old Yawa. Their brief was to capture objects from their everyday lives: In this instance both young Atayal photographers focused on feet.

Photo: Carina Koen, Taipei Times

An auction of photographs and artwork produced by Atayal children was held at the Pavilion of the Aroma of Flowers in Taipei on Saturday and helped raise enough funds to build a community activities center for the Atayal Aborigine tribe in the remote Chingchuan Village (清泉), Hsinchu County.

The auction was the culmination of a four-month-long fundraising, educational and art program run by the Wufong Project.

Wufong Project initiator and chairwoman Malinda Schultz said the proceeds of the auction exceeded all expectations and helped the project raise the target amount of NT$2.1 million (US$70,000) to construct a -community center in the village.

The center will mainly be used to provide the Atayal children living there — who have no exposure to quality education or activities — with art and music lessons, and other educational help.

The Wufong Project consists of about 40 volunteers who regularly visit the village to give art and photography lessons. In September, after intensive photography classes, each of the participating children was given a disposable camera to take pictures of everyday village life and their surroundings.

Those photographs were auction off on Saturday and although not all of the prints sold, interest in the original works of art was exceptionally high, Schultz said.

The average bid for a photograph was about NT$2,000, she said, while the highest amount, NT$58,000, was paid for a panel painted by the children.

“The most wonderful thing was to see the children’s faces when they saw the amount of money bidders were paying for their artwork,” Schultz said.

“They now feel that they are amazing and that anything is possible. A very deep thing has been planted with this project. These children can now realize that they have a leadership role to play in their community, where unemployment and alcoholism is rife. The children have been energized by the success of the event and have reportedly already started doing more paintings,” she said.

Schultz estimates that work on the community center can start in spring.

Anybody interested in buying the children’s artwork can visit the Wufong Project Web site on www.thewufongproject.wordpress.com.

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