The 2014 Cheng Long Wetlands International Environmental Art Project with the theme of “Fishing for a Better Environment” opened on Friday, May 2, with an official ceremony and speeches by government sponsors and the administrators of the project. Curator Jane Ingram Allen introduced the six 2014 artists and thanked the volunteers and the fishing hut owners and all Cheng Long villagers for their help with this year’s art project.
Representatives from the Yunlin County government and the Taiwan Forestry Bureau, sponsors of the Cheng Long art project also made speeches about the art project at the opening ceremony. After the official opening ceremony the visitors and press representatives followed the artists to a tour of the artworks, and each artist made a short presentation about their artwork. After the opening of the exhibition all the artists, volunteers, sponsors and others were treated to a fantastic lunch at the nearby noodle factory restaurant. For dinner that evening Maurice Meewisse and Katie Surridge and other artists and volunteers made a special Dutch dinner and it was served by candlelight. Everything tasted delicious!
This year the artworks were different and used natural and recycled materials and are sited in the fishing hut area. Artists had to work with their fishing hut owner to reach agreement about what could be done there. I think the artworks are powerful this year in a different way than in the past years; the impact is not so much a monumental visual artwork, but the concepts and the process of the works will have a big effect on the thinking of the Cheng Long people and visitors. There are ideas expressed about alternative energy, using ordinary earth to make a functioning cooking oven, using recycled materials in creative and innovativ ways and bamboo and other local natural materials. Some of the works also directly improve the environment of this part of Cheng Long and hopefully encourages the people to continue improving the environment and thinking about environmental issues. The children of Cheng Long are even more involved this year with the art project and the international cultural exchange process and are now interacting freely and speaking English with the artists from all over the world.
Below are photos and a brief description of each of the six 2014 artworks:
Artist: Joaquin Fargas, Argentina
Title: Space for Purification
Materials: bamboo, recycled plastic bottles, cord, various mechanical parts
This artwork includes a working system to take dirty salty water from the canal and with solar and wind energy passing the water through the clear plastic bottles so it condenses and produces some pure fresh water that could be used to water plants or other purposes in the fishing hut area.
Artist: Kathy Bruce, USA
Title: Big Fish Through Wall
Materials: Bamboo, raffia, twine
This artwork shows a giant milkfish (the most common fish raised in Cheng Long fish farms) going through the walls of a fishing hut with the tail on one side and the head coming out over the fish pond.
Artist: Katie Surridge, UK
Materials: Recycled materials, earth, seeds, plants, plywood, tiles, dishes, etc.
Katie’s artwork included many parts; it visually improved an existing vegetable garden at a fishing hut and she added stone walls, removed debris, added planters and a seating area and also made murals for her fishing hut installation.
Artist Maurice Meewisse, Netherlands
Title: Hut (Folly)
Materials: various lumber and hardware materials, purchased and recycled materials, bamboo, twine, etc.
Maurice’s artwork is a conceptual project that involves the artist relating to the local fishermen by his labor. He talked with fishing hut owners to discover their needs and repaired about 10 huts in some way, sometimes putting in windows, repairing roofs, doors and walls. His artwork also included the construction of a “folly” hut that is a sort of record of his work on the fishing huts and includes various parts put together to make a unique seating area at the fishing hut area.
Artist: LaLa Wang, Taiwan
Title: Hopes Hide Inside
Materials: recycled fabric from old clothing collected in Cheng Long, recycled plastic bottle caps, old black fishing net and twine
This artwork wraps up a fishing hut as if it were a gift.
Artist: Thiery Godet, France
Title: Between Two
Materials: Earth, dried grass, found fire bricks, various wood for burning
This art installation consists of a working oven for cooking fish, bread, pizza, sweet potatoes and many other things. The oven is made from local earth mixed with dried grass and recycled fire bricks. It is in the shape of a bird with folded wings,
The 2014 artworks will remain on view in the fishing hut area at Cheng Long for one year, and the 2015 Cheng Long Wetlands International Environmental Art Project will be next April with a new theme and new artists and environmental art installations.
The artists will return to their homes on Monday, April 5, and a farewell dinner is scheduled for Sunday, May 4. Public Activities (DIY) continues today at the fishing hut area in Cheng Long. Each artist is at their site to explain the works and do some activity with the visitors. Public activities on Sunday are 10AM to Noon and again in the afternoon from 2PM to 5:30 PM. Come and join us in Cheng Long village, Yunlin County, Taiwan.
The curator of the Cheng Long Wetlands International Environmental Art Project is Jane Ingram Allen (wwwljaneingramallen.com) and the photos on this Blog are by Timothy S. Allen (allentimphotos2.wordpress.com)