After the success of a series of graffiti along a city road, the Greater Kaohsiung City Government has decided to expand a legally approved graffiti area to include the Pier 2 Arts Center and the Fengshan District (鳳山), giving the artists more room to show their work.
According to Jiouru Street Art Factory spokesperson Lee Hsiao-hsiang (李曉祥), after the Taiwan Railway Administration’s Greater Kaohsiung railroad maintenance branch was moved to New Zuoying Station, its original location by Jiouru Road gradually deteriorated.
The city government initially granted approval to 20 artists to “liven up” the walls along Jiouru Road in February and March, Lee said, adding that the factory had financed the refurbishment of the roads and the installation of lights, spending approximately NT$200,000 (US$6,844).
The artists painted graffiti along the 114.28m length of wall for free, Lee said, adding that residents of the area said that the road had become much cleaner after the artists started painting.
The entire painting process was divided into two sections, with eight graffiti works completed in the span of 24 hours.
The city government’s Bureau of Cultural Affairs was impressed and Lee and the artists were invited to “beautify the city” with their work in the Pier 2 Arts Center and the former Navy Mingte Training Center in Fengshan District, across the street from what had originally been a veterans’ village, but is now the site of an apartment building, Lee said.
The Mingte Center once housed the Japanese Communication Corps, but after the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government came to Taiwan it was transformed into an interrogation center before being used for “disciplining” disobedient soldiers.
A factory spokesperson said it was a coincidence that all three locations featured different themes — namely the railway, harbor-side and veterans’ village — and the artists visiting the Pier 2 Arts Center and the Mingte Center had chosen the topic of their works accordingly.
Among the paintings, Wang Wei’s (王偉) Oath (誓約) — featuring a large-eyed girl — stood out, as well as the Minstrel for Sale (唱賣), painted by artists Hsiao An (小安) and Chi Jen-hao (紀人豪), depicting a face covered by a traditional Chinese opera mask.
Pier 2 Arts Center operations director Chien Mei-ling (簡美玲) said that allowing artists to express themselves in the center of town was a win-win situation. as residents and visitors would be able to witness the creation of art, while artists had a public area to display their work.