Indigenous artist to represent Taiwan at 2022 Venice Biennale

11/19/2021 09:00 PM
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Artist Sakuliu (right) and the exhibition
Artist Sakuliu (right) and the exhibition's curator Patrick Flores. Photo courtesy of Taipei Fine Arts Museum

Update: Artist's Biennale appearance halted due to sexual assault allegations (Jan. 12, 2022)

Taipei, Nov. 19 (CNA) A veteran Indigenous artist will represent Taiwan at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022, the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, which is organizing the Taiwan Pavilion at the event, said on Friday.

Sakuliu, an artist from Taiwan's Paiwan people, will create a spiritual site at the Taiwan Pavilion and fill it with new works including sculptures, installation, and animation inspired by the Paiwan mythology and culture, the museum said.

The exhibition, titled "Kinerapan: Right of Crawling," will tell a contemporary story through the traditional Paiwan narrative.

"Kinerapan" is a Paiwan word, which carries a wide range of meanings from the "crawling" of a plant to "scope, distance and depth," such as the area covered by a vast forest, the distance traveled by a river, or the space inhabited by a species. The word also implies the farthest distance one's imagination can reach, according to the museum.

The 61-year-old artist said that trees in a forest were connected by vines that "crawled" on and strengthened them to help them to withstand wind and rain and to weather storms.

He also said he wanted to explore whether there were similar things in human society to crawling vines that could help people overcome hardships, such as the pandemic, wars and refugees.

Sakuliu
Sakuliu's installation model of Kinerapan: Right of Crawling. Photo courtesy of Taipei Fine Arts Museum

The exhibition is built upon two main Paiwan ethical systems: the "Semiljeva," Paiwan for the joy of sharing and giving, and "Lingulj," Paiwan for circle, emblematic of concentric, iterative giving -- to introduce a network of symbiosis and coexistence fostered by interspecies reciprocity and interdependence, the museum said.

Curator Patrick Flores, professor of Art Studies at the University of the Philippines, said that the exhibition surveys Sakuliu's many lively forms that offer "both an inspiring Indigenous cosmology and an urgent everyday life."

His knowledge of the Paiwan culture as a doer and thinker produces a contemporary narrative that speaks to common interests within Taiwan and across the world, Flores added.

Born in a Paiwan village in Sandimen Township, Pingtung County, Sakuliu Pavavaljung creates works encompassing diverse forms, including painting, sculpture, installation, and architecture. He also engages in the preservation of Indigenous culture through art and activism.

His achievements as a well-rounded artist won him the National Culture and Arts Award in the fine arts category in 2018.

The 59th Venice Biennale will be held from April 23 through Nov. 27, 2022 at the Palazzo delle Prigioni in Venice, Italy. The world-renowned art event was scheduled to be held in 2021 but postponed due to COVID-19.

(By Ken Wang)

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Jun-Jieh Wang, Director of Taipei Fine Arts Museum (left), Sakuliu (center) and Patrick Flores. Photo courtesy of Taipei Fine Arts Museum
Jun-Jieh Wang, Director of Taipei Fine Arts Museum (left), Sakuliu (center) and Patrick Flores. Photo courtesy of Taipei Fine Arts Museum
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