As Asia sets out to celebrate the Lunar New Year of the Rat in 2020, the Taichung-based National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (NTMoFA) will present the "35th New Year Prints Exhibition of R.O.C.: A Flourishing Year of the Rat" from Dec. 28, 2019 through April 12, 2020 to introduce prize-winning works from its annual zodiac-themed prints competition.
After six rounds of appraisals, 87 winning artworks were chosen from 262 entries for their bursting creativity. Through the display of unique painting techniques and artistic interpretations of the auspicious rat — the featured animal of the upcoming Lunar New Year — the winning pieces shall offer viewers a glimpse of East Asian zodiac culture and Taiwan's Lunar New Year customs.
One of the six top prizes went to artist Chang Hsin-chen (張芯晨) for her print "The Year of the Abundant Harvest (鼠歲豐登)," in which a cartoon-style rat is smiling while holding a basket full of fruits and vegetables. The dress-wearing character is surrounded by blooming flowers, swaying apple trees, ripening stalks of rice, and ringing bells fluttering in the wind, signifying a world blessed with an abundance of great fortune.
In addition to the award-winning works, the exhibition will display commissioned works by two established artists Chen Shiau-peng (陳曉朋) and Su Meng-hung (蘇孟鴻). Chen's work presents a colorful circle full of yellow, blue, white, and green dots, symbolizing a bright future ahead, while Su digitized and altered an artwork dating back the Qing dynasty, echoing the Lunar New Year spirit by placing the Mandarin character for "spring" at the center of his print.
Deputy Minister of Culture Hsiao Tsung-huang (蕭宗煌) pointed out that the annual exhibition has nurtured many exceptional print artists while seeking to preserve folk arts since its launch in 1985. In a departure from traditional woodblock printmaking, Taiwanese artists have not only achieved breakthroughs by adopting digital and innovative printmaking techniques, they are also incorporating traditional folk tales and contemporary social issues in their works, Hsiao pointed out.
Commonly used as auspicious decoration for warding off evils, zodiac prints are received with a warm welcome at home and abroad, NTMoFA director Lin Chi-ming (林志明) said, adding that this year's exhibition is another unique reflection of Taiwan's artistic and creative energy that successfully combines folk culture with contemporary art.
The fusion of classic and modern art can also be seen at an ongoing exhibition called "Digitized Traditional Artistry" and the upcoming "2020 Taiwan International Light Festival" at NTMoFA, Lin added.
‘35th New Year Prints Exhibition of R. O. C.: A Flourishing Year of the Rat’
Date: Dec. 28, 2019 – April 12, 2020
Venue: National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts
Address: No. 2 Wuchuan W. Rd. Section 1, Taichung City, Taiwan (ROC)