These photos show artist Tsuneo Sekiguchi’s “Rainbow Boat” in the center of the village at the temple courtyard. On a sunny day you can see many rainbows on the underside of the white sail. The rainbows are made with sunlight, recycled mirrors and clear water in recycled pans placed in the bottom of the boat. Tsuneo trained his class of Cheng Long Elementary School children how to adjust the mirrors and fill the pans with clean water to keep the rainbows happening during the year. Villagers and visitors can enjoy the rainbows and take an imaginary sail into a future with a better environment.
Here is a photo of the “Portable Landscape” sculpture installation created by artist Christopher Varady-Szabo, originally from Australia but now living in Canada. His living artwork has soil and many local plants that will continue growing and providing a portable eco-system in Cheng Long village. Now his art installation is located at a vacant lot in the village, recently cleaned up by children and volunteers that has vegetables and plants starting to grow there. We hope that this artwork that can move around to different locations in Cheng Long will encourage villagers to grow things and clean up the vacant lots for a better environment. The carts in Chris’s installation are made from recycled materials and bamboo, and the smaller cart has wheels recycled from two old wheelchairs found at the local recycling center. The other bigger cart has wheels made from old wooden wire cable spools. The cart makes a wonderful creaking noise when it is moved and has recycled bamboo axles.
These photos show Marisa Merlin’s installation “Earth”. Marisa is from Italy and decided when she got to Cheng Long to write “earth” in Chinese characters. The giant characters stretch across the sand at the wetlands and are made from recycled burlap bags and smaller bags sewn from recycled clothes donated by villagers and filled with oyster shells and soil. Children and visitors helped Marisa to plant many local plants on her installation that will continue to grow there. The sandbags remind us of the rising water levels in the Cheng Long area as well as around the world due to global warming and climate changes. While we were in Cheng Long for the 25 days of this art project, the water level rose around this installation, and will continue to rise and fall with rain and other conditions in the Wetlands.
This photo shows “Dragon Heart” the installation created by Taiwanese artist Chao-chang Lee. Visitors can walk inside the dragon on land made with a recycled bamboo framework and covered with oyster shells. The dragon’s body seems to continue under the road and into the wetlands outlined by recycled bamboo poles and oyster shells, and the water becomes the dragon’s body. With his installation Chao wanted to show the history of oyster farming in this part of Taiwan; on land he used the nylon rope for stringing the oyster shells, and this is the way oyster farming is done today. In the wetlands nature preserve area he used the old way with natural rope….stringing the oyster shells on natural biodegradable sisal rope. Further out in the wetlands nature preserve he used the ancient way of oyster farming by wedging an oyster shell into a slit at the top of a recycled bamboo pole.
This photo shows the sculpture installation “Water Core” by artist Roger Rigorth, originally from Switzerland but now living in Germany. Roger created these 3 giant bottle shapes of woven split bamboo in three sections. The bamboo is joined with bamboo pegs and natural sisal rope. The installation of these tall structures in the wetlands was an engineering challenge! These sculptures can be seen from a great distance towering over the Cheng Long Wetlands and remind us of the importance of water as the source of all life.
The 2015 Cheng Long Wetlands International Environmental Art Project curated by Jane Ingram Allen will remain on view in Cheng Long village and wetlands throughout the year to be enjoyed by the villagers and local children as well as visitors. This year we were fortunate to have the volunteer help of 2012 Cheng Long artist Isabelle Garbani as assistant curator. Thanks also to the staff of Kuan Shu Environmental Education Foundation, the 5 volunteers from all over Taiwan, and the many villagers and Cheng Long Elementary School children for their help to make this year’s art project so successful. The photos in this Blog post are by Timothy S. Allen, a volunteer photographer for the art project. Check his Blog at allentimphotos2.wordpress.com to see more of his photos. Keep checking this Blog for more posts and to see how the artworks survive the typhoons and various weather conditions in Cheng Long, Yunlin County, Taiwan.