Creating a legacy in Taiwan
I was met with a warm welcome by the President of the Taiwan Women’s Art Association Joy Wu, and promptly taken out to sample some of Taiwan’s local fish and seafood with Taiwanese artists and other international artists. It was great to get together with them and share an appreciation of all things visual with a keen eye for the aesthetic. After dinner I was invited to the residence of Ko Fang Chu who had a beautiful apartment and studio over looking the Love River. She inspired me as at 75 years old she paints daily and also gets together with a group of fellow artists to hire a life model. Her apartment was adorned with her paintings and sculptures. Ko Fang Chu also shared me with me how she keeps so fit and active by collecting me the next morning to go the NSpa. A series of high speed underwater jets massage your feet, calves, thighs, back, shoulders and just about everywhere! After which you go and sit in a hot sauna and then dry off in the tropical heat.
Having a taste of Taiwanese culture prior to the exhibition acclimatised me and made me feel connected to the friendly generous Taiwanese people who share light humour and good nature. Entering the Kaoshiung Cultural centre under its impressive arch I was taken aback at the enormous outdoor space in front of the main door filled with people doing disco, ballroom and break dancing. The grand staircase then led to a labyrinth of large halls some galleries. Ours the Jhih-Jhen Gallery housed over 200 works with artists from 20 countries. I was more than surprised to see my painting The Wings of Grandmother centre stage and consequently on all the press shots with the dignatories.
I met some great artists including young newly graduated Hsu Tan Yu using a unique Chinese ink painting style of cuisine that takes the viewer into the experience of eating, with chopsticks and spoons alike mid air suspending delicious noodles flavoured by floating bottles of pouring soya sauce. I was particularly interested to see Hsu Yan Yu's work as my conference paper was about leaving a legacy and the need to celebrate time passing leading to new maturity referenced in the work of my Beijing artist friend Zhao Heng.