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Taiwan-New Zealand residency program promotes international indigenous connections

  • Date:2023-03-02

To facilitate cultural exchanges between the indigenous peoples of Taiwan and New Zealand, the Cultural Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in Sydney, with the support of the Ministry of Culture, has embarked on a collaboration with New Zealand to launch an inaugural residency exchange program. As part of this program, four Taiwanese indigenous artists will serve as artists-in-residence in New Zealand until March 4, at the invitation of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery (GBAG), New Zealand's contemporary art museum.

The selected artists Akac Orat (陳豪毅), Malay Makakazuwan (瑪籟.瑪卡卡如萬), Lafin Sawmah (拉飛.邵馬), and Eleng Luluan (安峨冷.魯魯), will interact with local institutions and Māori artists across various cities before returning to Taiwan to commence on their projects, with the opportunity to exhibit their works in New Zealand in the future.

GBAG director Zara Stanhope stated that the new residency program is important in terms of strengthening bilateral exchanges, especially since both are part of the Austronesian language family. He hopes that Taiwanese artists will gain a deeper understanding of New Zealanders, especially the history and culture of Māori, and establish personal and cultural associations and connections. Stanhope also revealed that more public activities and exhibitions will be held in the future to encourage cross-cultural exchanges and foster collaborative relationships.

The participating artists are from different indigenous tribes in Taiwan, each bearing their own distinct styles. Akac Orat is a curator and an expert on the Amis rattan weaving culture; Malay Makakazuwan’s creations mainly focus on installation art, and cultural and creative design; Lafin Sawmah is skilled in using Taitung driftwood as a material to create a wide range of items, from handmade furniture to fine art and public art; and Eleng Luluan specializes in sculpture with composite media and environmental installations.