Wed, Sep 11, 2013 - Page 5 News List

‘Animal wonderland’ to visit Taipei

Staff writer, with CNA

Encounters once reserved for the imagination only, like walking into the stomach of a 68m long sperm whale or playing with a 3m tall flea will be possible in Taipei next month, when an exhibition featuring outsized replicas of animals and insects opens.

More than 70 huge replicas will be on display in Youth Park from Oct. 5 to Oct. 20 to inspire children’s creativity, said Jen Chien-cheng (任建誠), director of the Paper Windmill Theatre (紙風車劇團), the organizer of the exhibition.

A massive inflatable sperm whale made out of bulletproof cloth will serve as the theme pavilion.

Children and other visitors will be albe to walk into the the whale’s stomach to see an undersea world featuring inflatable jellyfish, coral and other sea creatures, as well as sunken ships and underwater volcanoes, said Lee Yen-hsiang (李彥祥), a troupe official.

Visitors will also be able to play interactive games, see theater performances and learn more about animals in Taiwan such as the Formosan black bear and the black-faced spoonbill, Lee said.

Taipei will be the third leg of the troupe’s Wonderland of Animals and Insects of Taiwan exhibition, which has been shown in Greater Taichung and Miaoli and will move to Greater Kaohsiung in November.

More than 250,000 people have visited the exhibition since its launch in Greater Taichung in April, Jen said, adding that the troupe hopes to take what children learn in school and everyday life about animals and insects, and give it an artistic or creative twist to inspire their imagination.

For example, the exhibition features an inflatable beetle covered in Hakka floral print and a digital artwork that shows Taiwanese butterflies flying into a painting by Vincent van Gogh, he said.

Children can also see larger-than-life inflatable fleas and ladybugs, and can play a “dragonfly helicopter” game, Jen said, adding: “It could inspire children.”

He said Taiwan’s schools educate with little imagination, but his troupe believes that art and creativity are the most powerful tools for children who will face competition in a changing world.

“We encourage all teachers to bring their students to the exhibition on a field trip,” Jen said.

The exhibition is one of several projects in the troupe’s plan to bring theater to the nation’s 368 townships, cities and districts. The First Mile, Kid’s Smile: Arts for Children in 368 Townships tour began on Jan. 12.

The troupe, founded in 1992 by screenwriters and filmmakers, specializes in children’s plays and multimedia shows.

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