It is already over one week since the artists all arrived to begin their art installations in Cheng Long Wetlands. The five international artists have also met with their class of children on Thursday afternoon to do some cultural exchange and get the children involved in the process of making the artworks. The artists and volunteers are working very hard, but we also have some fun together at night eating and chatting and sometimes singing and dancing. Everyone has made great progress with their art installations, and you can see the ideas beginning to take form.
Julie Chou, Taiwanese artist from Taipei, has begun to create her installation “Returning to the Sea.” She has found the best site in the wetlands so that the three starfish forms will line up in the direction of the sea. Julie tried out the design for her starfish forms using some recycled bamboo, and now is beginning the construction of the largest starfish that will be over 3 meters in diameter. She is working now on the sand near the site where she will put the installation into the waters of the wetlands. Julie plans to hang oyster shells from her three starfish constructions like the traditional oyster farms seen around Cheng Long, and also she is thinking to put some living plants growing on her floating bamboo starfish forms.
Rumen Dimitrov, artist from Bulgaria, has made already one of the five “Flying Boats” he plans for his installation. He is using bamboo and also some driftwood. The boats will be different sizes and placed in the wetlands at different heights to make an interesting view from many different viewpoints. He made the first boat at the courtyard of the red house, and then his team of volunteers helped to carry it into the wetlands and waded in to install the first boat today. It is really exciting to see the installation beginning and imagine how it will look when all the boats are flying in the wetlands. Now Rumen and his team are thinking about the others and beginning to construct more boats. Rumen will also be putting some living plants in the “flying boats.
Hsin-yu Huang, artist from Miaoli, has begun constructing some of the many nest shapes of bamboo and sisal rope for her art installation “Let’s Nest.” Hsin-yu and her volunteer team have made 10 small size nests already, and they are almost finished with 10 nests that are a little larger. Hsin-yu’s team is getting very good at bending bamboo and tying the bamboo with a neat and strong technique. Now they are starting to make 10 more nests that will be even larger, and then they will finish by making 5 very big nests. When all of these nests are installed at different heights in the wetlands, it will be an amazing sight. Hsin-yu also selected the site for her art installation near the beginning of the wetlands so that these tall nests over the water will be one of the first things that visitors will see.
Karen Macher Nesta, artist from Peru, has figured out how to make the bamboo platforms in an interesting way to use the recycled bamboo that we collected at the coast near Cheng Long. Also, she is using the natural fiber sisal rope to tie everything together. She has already made all of the 21 planter baskets of bamboo for her installation, and she has tried out two different plants from the wetlands to go in her “Floating Garden.” This art installation will look really “green” in the wetlands when all of the platforms are completed and joined in the circular forms and the plants are all growing there. Now Karen’s team is beginning to construct the huge circles and bending the bamboo to create a circle form for the “Floating Garden.” Her installation will be floating in the wetlands past the water gate and near the bridge to the next village and visible from many viewpoints.
Firman Djamil, artist from Indonesia, has already made some of the bamboo construction for his “Cheng Long Spiral” installation. He has a good knowledge of working with bamboo and uses all hand techniques and tying with the sisal rope to make his artwork. We all consider Firman our “bamboo master” because he is very familiar with using this material and said that he learned how to work so well with bamboo by watching the elders in his Indonesian village. Firman and his volunteer put on the waders today and installed part of the spiral into the waters of the wetlands. They are planning to continue building the parts of the installation and expanding it and make it getting taller as it comes up onto the land and lower as it goes into the water. He also plans to have some plants growing on part of the “Cheng Long Spiral “ and the children will make some fish forms to hang from the spiral construction using oyster shells and bamboo.
Check back here often to this Blog to see how the artists are progressing. The children and the village people are very excited about the artists this year coming again to their village. The opening weekend is April 30 and May 1, so everyone will be working hard to complete their installations!