Thu, May 02, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Atayal art book aims to preserve culture

By Fu Chao-piao and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A drawing by Kagi Buyung, an 83-year-old Atayal Aborigine, is shown at a press conference held by the Miaoli County Government on Monday last week to promote the artist’s book of illustrations.

Photo: Fu Chao-piao, Taipei Times

An Aborigine elder in Miaoli County is helping to preserve Atayal culture and traditional knowledge by completing an illustrated volume that records the everyday lives and activities of local people.

Kagi Buyung is the 85-year-old community head of Rongan (榮安) Atayal Aboriginal Village and has drawn more than 200 pictures that document the village’s people and show tools and materials used by the Atayal people.

Sponsored by the Miaoli County Government’s International Culture and Tourism Bureau, a collection of his pictures titled The Sky of Kagi Buyung (卡義卜勇的天空) has recently been compiled.

According to the bureau, the book will be distributed to the 1,500 Atayal households in the county’s Taian Township (泰安), as well as to schools and libraries throughout the township.

The pictures use natural colors that express Kagi Buyung’s passion for drawing in a straightforward manner.

“The pictures in the book present the wonderful lifestyle of Atayal Aborigines,” Miaoli County Commissioner Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻) said at the book’s launch late last month. “These drawings are very valuable for academic research and for preserving traditional culture.”

Kagi Buyung has also established an Atayal traditional arts workshop in the village after witnessing what he perceived as the erosion of Atayal culture and traditions.

“The purpose of the workshop is to preserve traditional arts and the Atayal language, and to pass them on to young people,” he said.

Having retired 30 years ago from his job as a policeman, the former warden of Taian Township’s Dasing Village (大興) now immerses himself in teaching Atayal in schools.

He also makes Aboriginal handicrafts and is skilled in making artistic and cultural products by hand.

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