Tue, Sep 18, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Mural points to economic difficulties

HAVE-NOTS:An image of a girl painted as a balloon figure who is prevented from floating away by a cat biting a string represents Taiwan’s economic disparity

By Chang Tsung-chiu and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Ceramic sculptor Hsu Kun-yang carves a piece of wood in Changhua County’s Lukang Township on Saturday.

Photo: Chang Tsung-chiu, Taipei Times

An artist from Changhua County’s Lukang Township (鹿港) has painted a mural reflecting people’s aspirations to earn a living during the current economic slump.

Hsu Kun-yang (許坤揚), a ceramic sculptor from Lukang Township who is known for using Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese) proverbs in his artwork, painted a mural on the walls of a workshop in an artists’ village located in the township’s Gueihua Alley.

The 63-year-old Hsu started off as a wood sculptor before switching to ceramics and working with Koji ceramics for more than 26 years.

Hsu sculpts figures and scenery, and in an effort to promote Hoklo proverbs, he uses Koji ceramics as a medium to demonstrate the meaning behind the proverbs. Because the usage of color is so important in ceramic sculpting, Hsu also has a strong background in painting.

The mural includes children — the black-haired ones representing children from Taiwan and the fair-haired ones children from abroad — to represent the international view of the artist’s village, Hsu said, adding that he also painted some Picasso-esque abstract images to portray action-packed scenes of children running around with balloons and to bring out the elements of modernity and antiquity that infuse the artists’ village.

The image of a fish with nine tails swimming represents luck, while the image of children firing sling-shots instills a sense of nostalgia among Taiwanese born in the 1940s and 1950s, Hsu said, adding that he included an image of a grandparent with his grandchild to represent a comfortable life for the elderly.

An image of a child losing a balloon represents the fact that Lukang is close to the sea and is subject to heavy gusts of wind, Hsu said.

Hsu also said that the mural reflected people’s desire to have money in their pockets.

Hsu said the children in his mural were replicas of the five children on the NT$1,000 bank note and that they represented rising consumer prices amid a slumping economy.

On the bill, four children cluster around a globe, while a fifth child peers into a microscope, making science the main theme of the bill. However, in Hsu’s mural, the fifth girl is a balloon figure who is only kept from floating away by a cat holding the balloon’s string in its jaws, signifying the wealth gap in Taiwan.

Average people are suffering, Hsu said, adding that Taiwan’s economy needs to be revived for the nation to have a future.

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