The Taipei City Government is looking for people who are depicted in 59 mosaic-tile smiling portraits that have embellished a wall along the Dajia Riverside Park for the past 15 years, in an effort to ensure that the portraits become more “true-to-life” after a planned restoration project.
The city government’s Hydraulic Engineering Office constructed the 300m-long “smile wall” on Oct. 28, 1998, in the hope of allowing visitors to the park to enjoy the positive effects of smiles, whether they were playing Frisbee with friends or cycling around the park.
Hydraulic Engineering Office Director Huang Chih-feng (黃治峰) was quoted by the Chinese-language Apple Daily as saying that the portraits featured 59 different people that were randomly photographed on the city’s streets by the wall’s design team.
“The smiling faces created so many fond memories for Taipei residents that they became one of the city’s historical symbols,” Huang was quoted as saying.
However, as most of the portraits have been damaged over the years, including six that are beyond repair, the office said it is now planning on conducting major restoration of the portraits, while selecting six new faces for the wall.
According to Huang, the restoration project is expected to be completed in July and the “owners” of all of the 59 faces would be invited to attend an unveiling ceremony of the repaired wall.