Antipodean Encounters: Western Australian Artists and Taiwanese Culture was curated by Ashley Yihsin Chang and was the culmination of multiple meetings between a group of Taiwanese women who have immigrated to Perth and a group of Perth artists. The project aimed to foster a deeper understanding and friendship between the Taiwanese community and the artist community. Over the course of one year, artist workshops, cultural exchange activities, talks, and casual afternoon teas were held. The two communities mingled and conversed.
At the afternoon tea sessions, the Taiwanese women each spoke about a personal and culturally significant object that they had brought with them from Taiwan. The artists and Taiwanese woman were paired together, and in response to the stories that were told, the artists made an artwork. The resulting artworks were exhibited at Midland Junction Arts Centre and included photography, painting, installation, textiles, and ceramics.
Banksia Bush Walk Illumination
Banksias are in bloom everywhere at the moment. I love the strangeness of the flowers and leaves.The flowers are interesting and fun to look at in all their different shapes, colours, and stages of growth. There are many unique plants and flowers in WA, and the Banksia Woodland is the main expanse of vegetation in the Perth area. If I were to migrate away from WA, I'd miss the unique plants here.
The Taiwanese Lantern Festival is held at the closing of the Lunar New Year, which welcomes the coming of spring, new beginnings, and hope for the coming year. Phoebe loves this celebratory time of year, and the small, round lantern that she brought with her to Perth reminds her of it. Circular lanterns are the most traditional shape, mimicking the shape of the moon, symbolising union and togetherness for friends and family as the new season arrives. Nature, and the changing seasons, supports and enriches human life all over the world and is something that binds us as a species.
Banksia Bush Walk Illumination is an installation supported by a circular canvas (I am usually a painter) and is illuminated by fairy lights, which are a common decoration at celebratory events in Australia. The installation is a celebration of the joy that humans may receive from taking a bush walk in the company of friends or family. Familiarising oneself with nature is an important part of getting to know a new place, and I hope that the Taiwanese migrant community will feel enriched here.
The artists were asked to photograph their Taiwanese partner with their object. Then text was exchanged between the partners: the Taiwanese women wrote about the personal and cultural significance of the object, and the artists wrote about how they connected to the story. The text was translated into English and Mandarin, and with the portrait it was made into a poster. The posters were exhibited at Perth City Arts Space.