Three Taiwan-based pottery artists have won membership in UNESCO's International Academy of Ceramics (IAC), giving the nation a grand total of nine members in the organization.
The artists are Shih Hsuan-yu (施宣宇), Chu Fang-yi (朱芳毅), and Hwang Jeng-daw (黃政道), whom are all recognized as National Craft Masters by the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute (NTCRI) in the central Taiwanese county of Nantou.
Two institutions and four other artists from Taiwan have previously won the title before. The two NTCRI-affiliated institutions are the Yingge Ceramics Museum in New Taipei City and the Shuili Snake Kiln Ceramics Cultural Park in Nantou County; the four artist members are Chang Chin-yuan, Liu Zhen-chow, Yeh Wen, and Shao Ting.
According to the NTCRI, a subordinate organization of the Ministry of Culture and the nation's leading authority on traditional crafts, the selection process is strict, and under these stringent guidelines, winning the title is rare and well-deserved.
Shih has devoted himself to the pottery field for more than 25 years; he has won prizes in 2009 and 2011 at Italy's Premio Faenza International Competition of Contemporary Ceramic Art, one of four major international ceramic competitions in the world, and many other honors and awards. He continues to not only promote Taiwanese ceramic art to the world, but also to bringnew ideas and concepts back to his homeland.
Chu employs sculptural forms to deliver personal statements on current issues through his works, which have been recognized by many awards, such as first prize at the Taiwan Ceramics Biennale.
Living abroad for many years, world-acclaimed teapot maker Hwang has traveled to more than 30 countries, and has been a guest artist at various universities, art centers, and city governments in many countries. His distinctive style has gained tremendous popularity among collectors.
Taiwan has also won the right to host the IAC Assembly for the year 2018, but the nation's total number of artists who hold IAC membership is low in comparison to that of other countries, so Shih, Chu, and Hwang encourage more local pottery artists and affiliatedbodies to seek membership, in order to increase the visibility of Taiwanese ceramic art.
UNESCO'S IAC was founded in 1952, and has more than 600 members from more than 50 counties. The mission of the global body is to promote exchange and cooperation in the field of global ceramics and pottery art. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
Individual pottery artists are inducted into the nonprofit UNESCO partner organization only if they are nominated and supported by three existing individual members of the IAC.