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Gangbin Historical Park | Greetings from the Whale

  • Date:2022-03-14
Gangbin Historical Park  Greetings from the Whale

Chinese Name: 大魚的祝福
Year of Establishment: 2018
Location: Anping, Tainan
Did You Know…?
"Greetings from the Whale," which opened to the public on January 21, 2019, is the most famous landmark in Tainan’s Gangbin Historical Park. Standing 23 meters long, ten meters wide, and eight meters high, the most impressive aspect of the whole work is that not a single pillar or rivet was used in the construction process. On top of this, virtually every piece of stained glass used in the piece has been cut at a different angle, something which made the piece’s creation a difficult process. A piece of installation art that looks like it leaped from the pages of a fairytale, the whale sits quietly next to the small fishing port with an air of vibrancy and romance. This big blue whale carrying the heart of Taiwan was created by Yang Shih-Yi, a director who was nominated for the Golden Horse Award for Best Short Film and a well-known paper-cut artist. He hopes that through this large-scale installation, people will be able to step inside and explore the bright, shining heart of Taiwan, once again feeling the power of gentleness and tolerance that resides within our troubled society.

To boost nighttime tourism in Anping District, the Tainan City Government constructed a large installation called "Greetings from the Whale" in the Gangbin Historical Park, providing a high vantage point from which the public can enjoy the sunset and nighttime view of Anping Harbor. The park is located on Anyi Road in Anping District, and has been designed around the main themes of the port and history, creating a spot that brings together a harborside landscape and centuries of history. Since the Gangbin Historical Park covers a fairly large area and is planned to stay relatively natural and simple, unnecessary artificial facilities have been avoided as much as possible.

"Greetings from the Whale," designed by renowned artist Yang Shih-yi, sits in the sprawling Gangbin Historical Park next to Fisherman's Wharf, and also marks the drop-off point for Anping cruises. Yang, who is known for his paper-cutting, says that for him, creating "Greetings from the Whale" was like working on a huge three-dimensional paper-cutting work, despite the difference in materials. In Yang's concept for the design, Taiwan is like a whale that carries the many different groups and categories of people who live on the island unconditionally across the sea, providing protection and carriage through even the roughest waters. The work is designed to communicate a sense of the tolerance and love that characterizes this land of Taiwan, something he has tried to represent through the welded stainless steel structure, providing a sense of security, inside of which is a colorful three-dimensional model of Taiwan assembled from many pieces of stained glass.

The top half of the piece is made of 3,714 stainless steel pipes welded together without a single screw, keeping the lines clean and pure. The interior, the "Heart of Taiwan," is made of 634 stainless steel pipes welded together and inlaid with 448 pieces of stained glass, forming the shape of the island and symbolizing the richness and diversity of tolerance, capturing how Taiwan has been accepting of guests across the ages. The designer chose to make the whale hollow not only based on the imagery of paper-cutting, but also because Anping is famous for its sunset view. As the light and shadow change angles across different times of day, they create a variety of brilliant scenes, and as the sunset hits, the warm light of the setting sun passes through the whale, lighting the massive blue body and curved tail and creating spectacular images. As for the "Heart of Taiwan," the feelings generated for viewers from upstairs and downstairs are different, but both incorporate respect and gratitude.

The large whale's open mouth faces the outlet of Anping Harbor, and its belly is a smooth white curve. The original design was intended to allow people to walk into the upper level of the large whale and enjoy the sunset over Anping Harbor. In addition, to brighten up the work at night, nighttime lighting is provided so that visitors can come at night to enjoy the sight of the large whale seemingly floating on the water of the harbor, giving them an additional reason to linger in Anping. Walking up the white steps in the belly of the whale, you can enter its body. White railings form the baleen of the whale, and from its mouth, you can enjoy the beautiful view of the harbor from above. You can also see the big whale starlight wall on the opposite side, the two big whales reflecting each other and standing guard over the coast of Anping Harbor together.

(Photo courtesy of Tainan City Government)