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Culture Minister visits Juan I-jong's retrospective photo exhibition

  • Date:2020-08-01
Culture Minister visits Juan I-jong's retrospective photo exhibition

Minister of Culture Lee Yung-te visited a retrospective exhibition of photographs by veteran photographer Juan I-jong (阮義忠) at the Kishu An Forest of Literature on July 31. Juan, as curator, and Feng De-ping (封德屏), director of the south side literature park in Taipei, gave a guided tour to the minister. The minister exchanged views with the two, regarding photography and Taiwan's literary landscape as well as the history of the facility dedicated to literature.

Minister Lee said the photographs capture many aspects of life of Hoklo, Hakka and indigenous communities from earlier days in Taiwan. Viewing the exhibition, "it was as if friends and life from childhood are right in front of [my] eyes," the Minister added.

Hailing the master photographer's works as "Taiwan's precious cultural asset," the Minister said Juan faithfully portrays the contour of Taiwan's society and history through lenses, capturing historic moments with artistic expression and leaving a remarkable cultural footprint on the map of Taiwan's history. Juan is the driving force behind the evolution of Taiwan's modern photography, Lee said.

Born in 1950, Juan is a humanist photographer who has documented Taiwan's transition from an agricultural society to an industrial economy. The world wanderer's photography manifests the richness of Taiwanese photography.

Juan said the exhibition features representative photographs he has taken over 40 years. Showcasing his work at the Kishu An Forest of Literature is particularly significant as the cultural center embodies the value of resilience and being content with life, which he has sought to reflect through his photos.

The Kishu An Forest of Literature, now a municipal heritage site, was a cradle of a new generation of Taiwanese writers during the 1970s. In 1996 and 1998, two fires damaged its main building and its annex, leaving only the "hanare," a detached cottage.

Lee further elaborated the significance of the privately-run center as a foothold in Taiwan's literary landscape. As a historical site and a literature-themed space, the center has attracted people of different generations. He expects that more and diversified cultural events in the center will contribute to the richness of the culture of Taiwan.

The exhibition ran through August 2 in Taipei; read the original press release here.