Thu, Dec 28, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Murals breathe life into old district

By Hsiao Yu-hsin and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A mural painted by artist Chi Jen-hao is pictured in Kaohsiung’s Shinkuchan Commercial District on Sunday.

Photo: Hsiao Yu-hsin, Taipei Times

A group of artists in Kaohsiung have partnered with Hotel Indigo Kaohsiung Central Park to bring the once-popular Shinkuchan Commercial District (新崛江商圈) back to life with murals inspired by their memories.

The district, near President Department Store Wufu Branch, used to be the largest shopping district in the nation.

However, the area lost its appeal after a fire in 1995 destroyed the department store, which has since been rebuilt, and the geographical focus of Kaohsiung’s urban development was changed.

The alley behind the department store is where many people smoked their first cigarettes, said Chi Jen-hao (紀人豪), one of the artists, who has been invited by many cities to paint murals and participated in international graffiti exhibitions.

His piece, Turning Point (轉捩點), depicts a woman and two hands, and represents the district’s change through time, said Chi, a Kaohsiung native.

Designer Hung Min-hung (洪旻宏), another participant, is originally from Nantou County, but has lived in Kaohsiung for more than 10 years.

After moving to Kaohsiung for university, he “fell in love with the city,” Hung said.

He used soft and warm tones to depict the 85 Sky Tower and other famous landmarks in Kaohsiung, Hung said.

Kaohsiung has a view of the mountains and the ocean, which inspired his creations, Hung said.

The city was hit hard by gas explosions in 2014 and he hopes that his piece can help heal the city’s residents, Hung added.

Illustrator and designer Shiang Huang (黃湘) said she used the image of her home in Kaohsiung’s Cijin District (旗津) as the background to her creation, and painted the beginnings of her life and her memories.

The area’s residents became curious and watched her paint while she was working on the piece, Huang said, adding that over time, she developed friendly relations with the residents, and experienced the compassion and kindness of her hometown.

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