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Island Tales: Taiwan and Australia Opens at Taipei Fine Arts Museum

This exhibition celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Taipei and Perth sister-city relationship and includes a series of events centered on Taiwan-Australia exchanges.

Kao Jun-Honn + Abbot Lin + Master Hsin-Miao, Estuary: Return to the Novel, (2019) Courtesy to the artist and Taipei Fine Arts Museum

To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Taipei and Perth Sister City Relationship, Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM) and the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA) are jointly organizing a series of events centered on Taiwan-Australia exchanges, including Island Tales: Taiwan and Australia|Taipei←→Perth at Taipei Fine Arts Museum.

Island Tales came about from a creative exchange process between Taipei and Perth. The collaboration broke from the conventional model of two museums organizing separate exhibitions and then exchanging artworks. Instead, curators from both museums changed places, engaged in research in their counterpart institutions, and then returned home to organize an exhibition. This innovation has altered the mode of one-way communication commonly seen in exhibitions, giving the curators greater room to observe and converse.

Island Tales: Taiwan and Australia is curated by Chien Cheng-Yi of Taipei Fine Arts Museum. When visiting Perth to do research, the curator was inspired by her experiences of local culture and chose the concepts of “tales” and “storytelling” as the exhibition’s core themes. She aims to build a domain where imagination and reality intermingle through the subjective narratives of the artworks. The exhibition features 13 contemporary artists and art collectives from Taiwan and Australia, exploring the distinctive perspectives of both lands through tales, false histories, anecdotes, and personal memories.

Island Tales: Taiwan and Australia features six Taiwanese artists/groups: Chang Wen-Hsuan, Chihhung Liu, Chiu Chen-Hung, Kao Jun-Honn + Abbot Lin + Master Hsin-Miaw, Wang Ding-Yeh, and Yang Chi-Chuan​. Their artworks revolve around the narrative axis of history, cities and memories, deconstructing and reconstructing stories from Taiwanese memory that seem familiar as if they have already happened to us.

The exhibition also presents works by seven artists/groups from Western Australia: Dan McCabe, Eva Fernandez, Gregory Pryor, Jacobus Capone, Olga Cironis, Pilar Mata Dupont, and York Noongar Community with Community Arts Network. Their art is similarly centered on history, memory, and connections to the land. Highlighting distinctive elements of Western Australian culture, such as native animals and aboriginal symbols, their works take visitors on a cultural journey to the far reaches of the South Pacific.

The cultures of Australia and Taiwan share many things in common, such as indigenous cultures, the languages of Oceania, maritime traditions, and colonial histories. Though they are geographically distant from each other, the cultural connections are surprisingly strong. The exhibition is presented in the second-floor History Gallery, serving as a historical anchor commemorating the friendship between the two cities and endowing this curatorial theme of cultural dialogue with an interpretive milieu for an array of discussions.

Island Tales: Taiwan and Australia|Taipei←→Perth is on view at Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Gallery 2A through March 1, 2020. For more information, visit https://www.tfam.museum/island_tales.