While the Legislative Yuan is a place of serious business and dramatic political standoffs, the section of the building housing the legislators’ offices — especially the halls in front of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators Yeh Yi-chin’s (葉宜津) and Lin Chia-lung’s (林佳龍) rooms — has recently seen the addition of several paintings by Taiwanese painters or members of lawmakers’ families.
Yeh said that she had started hanging up paintings in the hallway in front of her office last year, putting up just three or four paintings at first.
She said she thought the paintings made the place look much better and so she asked DPP Legislator You Mei-nu (尤美女), whose office is next to hers, if it would be alright if she hung more paintings in the hallway.
Yeh said that her daughters Tina and Vivian had drawn two of the still-life paintings she hung in the hallway, adding that she also meant to hang a still life drawn by her son Kevin, but he kept forgetting to bring it when he visited the legislature.
The different characters of her daughters were reflected in their drawings, Yeh said, noting that Tina was bolder in her use of colors, while Vivian was more adept at the use of lighting and shadows.
Vivian’s pencil sketch of Yeh’s late mother is hung close to Yeh’s office, and the lawmaker said the drawing had been made before Vivian had taken any formal painting or drawing classes.
The art collection includes two watercolors by Yeh’s uncle, Yeh Min-ruei (業敏瑞), one depicting a sea of cosmos flowers, and the other the Changchun Shrine, which commemorates the 212 veterans who died in 1958 while constructing the Central Cross-island Highway.
The other drawings Yeh Mei-nu has hung are by Taiwanese painters, former classmates or close friends.
Meanwhile, Lin began hanging up paintings on the hallway walls in front of his office at the beginning of the year.
The majority of the drawings are the works of Chen Lai-hsing (陳來興), a renowned painter that some critics have labeled the “Taiwanese van Gogh.”
Lin said that Chen had been a close friend during the democratization of Taiwan, and that many of his works showed a true concern for society.
One of painting depicts a farmer working in a rice paddy while the factory beside the paddy spews out black smoke, showing how Taiwan’s agricultural society has been disrupted and affected by industrialization.
Pointing to another painting by Chen depicting a traditional market, Lin said it appeared so lifelike that a viewer could almost hear the raucous sounds of the market.
Lin also posted a couplet by his door written by calligraphy master Chen Yun-chen (陳雲程), who died in 2009 at the age of 105.
The couplet reads: “Feng yue shuang qing yun xia wu se, Shi shu dan wei shan shui ba yin” (風月雙清雲霞五色，詩書三味山水八音).
The phrase conveys the image of a person reading a book in a grove. The night is clear and bright with a light breeze, and the smattering of clouds in the night sky and the light frost on the ground shimmers with different colors. The mountain wind whistles through the trees, the river burbles along joyously, while the reader sits with book in hand, enjoying his book.
Lin said he often thinks of the couplet while he is working, hoping to achieve some of the peace it describes.