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Taipei's little green traffic man striding across fences

2018/03/19 14:52:46

Taipei, March 19 (CNA) The "little green man" on traffic lights in Taiwan and elsewhere, which indicates to pedestrians when it is safe to cross the road, has taken on a new life-sized role in Taipei as the theme of an installation art project.

"Walking Men in Taipei," an artwork by Israeli Maya Barkai, features 115 figures on canvas and life-sized plant designs of the traffic icon on a 400-meter fence around the Fubon A25 construction site in Taipei's Xinyi District.

The art piece is part of a "Walking Men Worldwide" project, which Barkai launched in 2010, asking for online submissions of the photographs of the pedestrian traffic men from around the world.

(Little green traffic men across the world)

Using the images she obtained, Barkai created a series of life-sized figures and installation art pieces that has been touring cities around the world, including New York, Sydney and Buenos Aires.

Upon arrival in Taipei, however, the artist decided to use greenery to shape the city's walking man, the promoters said.

"We thought it would be interesting to play with the idea since Taipei's regulations stipulate that at least half of the fence around a construction site should be covered by greenery," said Anita Shen (沈至柔), a promoter of the 2018 Very Fun Park, an annual urban art project that has been in existence since 2001.

"This was a new concept for me, which I personally found very beautiful, and so I took on the challenge without hesitation," Barkai told CNA in an e-mail.

After three months of discussions with Barkai, the promotion team decided that the canvas figures of the walking men in cities such as Bangkok, Berlin and Mexico City would be displayed in Taipei, along with their plant-based versions, Shen told CNA.

The dark green ficus pedunculosa was used as the background, and lighter colored plants like garden croton were used to highlight the life-sized walking men figure, she said.

Barkai said she hopes that the project will inspire people to "notice the small details that make the fabric of our lives, and provoke creative thinking about the medium of photography in the age of instagram and social media."

It was also hoped that installation art would give a new face to the mundane construction fence and help celebrate Taipei as a city of diverse cultures, Shen said.

Apart from the Walking Men exhibit, nine other public art projects are on display at the 2018 Very Fun Park through May 13.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)