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Taiwanese artwork in Tuvalu aimed at raising environmental awareness

2012/09/18 20:15:28

Taipei, Sept. 18 (CNA) Taiwanese artist Vincent J.F. Huang said Tuesday that he has created installation art on a beach on the Pacific island of Tuvalu with the aim of highlighting the threat of rising sea levels caused by global warming.

The piece, featuring a polar bear and a fuel truck nozzle tied in a knot, is part of a series of eco-art projects he is carrying out on Tuvalu, Huang told CNA via e-mail during his second trip to the Pacific island country.

The polar bear, which is lying on a hammock suspended from the fuel truck nozzle, symbolizes an end to the world's reliance on oil and a move back toward a life of simplicity, said Huang.

A group of local children helped him erect the 4-meter-long, 2-meter-high artwork, Huang added.

Huang is also planning to set up another piece featuring images of polar bears squeezed into oil drums, a concept inspired by oil giant Royal Dutch Shell's plan to drill in the Arctic.

The 41-year-old artist said he wants to raise awareness of the environmental damage that can be caused by oil exploration and the fact that continued global warming could put Tuvalu in an even more precarious situation as a result of rising sea levels.

Huang's art projects in Tuvalu coincided with a visit to the island by the United Kingdom's Prince William and his wife Sept. 18-19, which the artist said would help his works get more international media attention.

The artist added that he hopes the projects will also help promote Taiwan's soft power around the world.

In an interview with CNA that same day, Republic of China Ambassador to Tuvalu Tseng Ruey-li said Huang's projects have received a warm welcome from the government there, which has long been concerned about the environmental crisis facing the Pacific country.

Huang is also scheduled to meet with senior Tuvalu government officials to discuss environmental issues before wrapping up his visit later this week, according to Tseng.

During a previous trip to Tuvalu in 2010, the artist waded out to a reef on the country's main island, where he erected a small sculpture of a desiccated mermaid made of dried coconut shells and pieces of palm trees.

"An artist should use his or her artwork to create eye-catching images to attract media attention," Huang told CNA in an earlier interview. "This will in turn help to get the message across," he said.

(By Elaine Hou and Christie Chen)
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