Four receive joint cultural award

Staff writer, with CNA, PARIS

Thu, Sep 13, 2018 - Page 4

Four French citizens on Monday received the Taiwan-France Cultural Award for their dedication to enhancing cultural exchanges between Taiwan and Europe.

The awards, which were first announced in October last year, were presented to Sinologist Veronique Arnaud of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies under the National Center for Science Research of France; film editor Jean-Robert Thomann; former director of the Centre d’Etudes Francais sur la Chine Contemporaine (CEFC) Stephane Corcuff and choreographer Christian Rizzo.

The awards were presented by Minister of Culture Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) and Jean-Robert Pitte, permanent secretary of the French Learned Society at the Institute de France in Paris.

The winners, apart from Rizzo, attended the ceremony to receive an award certificate and a cash prize of 12,500 euros (US$14,498).

Arnaud in 1971 began researching the Tao of Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼).

Since then, she has made 12 long-term visits to the island to collect firsthand information and document Tao culture, language and folk music.

She has collated a massive volume of sound recordings, which Arnaud said are valuable to preserve “a language that has almost disappeared.”

Arnaud said that her documentation is also valuable for Tao people who want to learn their mother tongue.

“Passing on is the most beautiful gift,” she said.

Thomann, 48, has been telling stories about Taiwan through a camera lens for nearly half a century.

He has created 16 documentaries that touch upon various themes, from Taiwanese opera to elections, in addition to two dramas shot in Taiwan.

Corcuff is director of the Taipei branch of CEFC and a professor of political science at Lyon University.

He wrote a Chinese-language book published in 2004 titled Warm Day With Gentle Breeze (風和日暖), in which he discusses Chinese migration to Taiwan and the change of national identity.

Corcuff is continuing to research, teach and write about issues concerning Taiwan, with many works focusing on the identity problem from political and historical angles, the Ministry of Culture said.

Director and visual artist Christian Rizzo is director of the Centre Choregraphique National de Montpellier (now the International Choreographic Institute).

Rizzo wrote in a statement for the award presentation ceremony that his relationship with Taiwan began 13 years ago, when he visited the nation as an artist-in-residence.

Since then, “a long and beautiful story” between himself and Taiwan has unfolded, he said.

Having worked with many Taiwanese artists over the years, Rizzo said he hopes that Taiwan’s government would listen carefully to artists’ voices and needs.

The French-Taiwanese Cultural Foundation was established in 1996 under the aegis of the French Academy for Social and Moral Sciences with the purpose of “awarding two prizes every year for artistic or literary works that shed light on relations between Taiwan and Europe and/or contribute to the enhancement of cultural exchanges between Taiwan and Europe,” the ministry said.