This year’s Kuandu Arts Festival, an annual event launched by Taipei National University of the Arts (TNUA) in 1993, is poised to be the largest yet, as celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the university are expected to climax when the festival opens next month, bringing more than 100 performan ces, concerts and exhibitions to various venues and locations across the school’s campus.
“This year’s theme is: Art is Power. It is perfectly fitting because the path of an artist is endless and full of frustrations and challenges. To become an artist, one needs to have strong faith in what one does, be persistent and never give up,” university principal Ju Tzong-ching (朱宗慶) told a press conference.
From Indian film maestro Satyajit Ray’s The Apu Trilogy to Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s pumpkin sculpture, this year’s festival is designed to highlight artistic diversity and creative vigor with a dazzling lineup of performances, concerts, film festivals and exhibitions by artists and art groups from 15 countries, said Yang Chi-wen (楊其文), the festival’s artistic director.
A series of chamber music concerts, piano recitals, opera performances and nanguan (南管) performances will feature university alumni and music professors. Meanwhile, artists from home and abroad will comprise the lineups of several performance artworks, with highlights including I Think It’s Hamlet by The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative from South Africa, a modern dance piece that uses Shakespeare’s Hamlet to explore the topics of life, death and HIV/AIDS.
In Soapera, Mathilde Monnier and Dominique Figarella, an artistic duo from France, will turn a stage into a fluid space filled with bubbles. In the hands of Japanese musician and composer Kazue Mizushima, a theater will be transformed into a giant string instrument as performers play instruments installed on the stage with their bodies.
The Kuandu Biennale, now in its third edition, joins the celebration with 10 solo shows by 10 Asian artists from China, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, Australia and Taiwan. Under the theme of “Artist in Wonderland,” artists will use a wide variety of materials such as light bulbs, sugar and baby powder, to illustrate their visions across the Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts.
For film lovers, the Kuandu Film Festival will feature an Indian film exhibition containing several of Ray’s classic movies as well as contemporary works selected by the Satyajit Ray Film and the Film and Television Institute of India.
Festival organizers have also teamed up with the University of the Philippines, Thammasat University in Thailand, the Japan Academy of Moving Images and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Asia to showcase a large number of student films from those schools and hold forums by invited academics and directors.
In addition, the Kuandu International Animation Festival will feature more than 100 animated short and feature films. It has invited representatives from Asiagraph in Tokyo, the John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts at the University of Southern California, and the Rhythm and Hues Studios to exchange experiences and share their views at lectures and discussion panels.
Visitors who are exhausted by the plethora of activities can relax and wander through the outdoor sculpture exhibition at the campus’ Aigrette Down (鷺鷥草原), Yang said, adding that people will find things to do and see at every spot on campus during the festival period.