Paintings of New Taipei City’s Tamsui District (淡水) by famed Taiwanese modern-history painter Chen Cheng-po (陳澄波) are on exhibit at the district public library.
Born in Chiayi in 1895, Chen was executed by the Nationalist army in 1947 during the 228 Incident. During his youth he often visited Tamsui, where he and friends would paint the waterfront and other sceneries.
The exhibition showcases a number of these paintings on 1930s Tamsui, including works by Chen and his contemporaries Lee Mei-shu (李梅樹), Yang San-lang (楊三郎), Ni Chiang-huai (倪蔣懷), Lu Chun-yuan (盧春元) and Lin Yu-shan (林玉山), the library said.
Among the scenes depicted in the paintings are Guanyin Mountain (觀音山), its waterfront, local red-brick architecture and the European-style buildings left over from the area’s colonial past, the library said.
The district makes for great subject matter for paintings given its diverse colonial past, including contact with the Dutch, the Spanish and the British, the library said, adding that Tamsui was Chen’s favorite place to paint — even more so than his hometown in Chiayi.
Chen’s paintings serve as an important record of the district’s past, it said.
Many buildings from Huwei Village (滬尾小鎮) — the old name for Tamsui — that are depicted in the paintings can still be seen today, including Tamkang Senior High School, Fuyou Temple and Tamsui Church, the library said.
However, today the buildings are surrounded by concrete structures and the scenes look different from those depicted in the paintings, it said, adding that some of the old brick buildings shown in the paintings were torn down long ago.
The exhibition has been timed to coincide with a book exhibit, a book launch and a corresponding panel, the library said.
The events are intended to draw visitors to the district and allow local residents to gain a greater understanding of and appreciation of the district’s history, it said.
The exhibit runs until the end of October, the library said, adding that it will hold guided tours of the district on Sept. 15 and Sept. 30 that will visit the places featured in Chen’s paintings.
A seminar is to be held on Oct. 14.
Information about the events can be found on the Web sites for the Tamsui Public Library and the Chen Cheng-po Cultural Foundation, as well as on the foundation’s Facebook page, the library said.
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