Weaver of bamboo sanctuaries and tight-knit communities
Wang Wen-chih (王文志) is an eco-conscious installation artist who works mainly with bamboo from his hometown Meishan in Chiayi County. The acclaimed artisan, who represented Taiwan at the 2001 Venice Biennale, uses his art to promote sustainability and community bonding.
These core principles tie back to his childhood experience of growing up in the forests of Chiayi and harvesting wood with his brothers. It harks back to the communal lifestyle that once characterized the people of Taiwan in earlier, simpler days.
For example, Wang has been invited as artist-in-residence by each edition of the Setouchi Triennale since the festival debuted in 2010. This year, Wang's work — "Love in Shodoshima (小豆島之戀)" — was a co-production of Shōdo islanders, volunteers from Chiayi in southern Taiwan, and Australian bamboo arts studio Cave Urban. The work reflected the festival's goal of transforming the Seto Inland Sea into a "Sea of Hope" by restoring the vigorousness of the ocean.
He is also the subject of a 2014 documentary by Taiwanese director Singing Chen (陳芯宜) — "Mountain Spirits (山靈)" traces the artistic journey of Wang as he embarks on making large-scale installation pieces with organic materials. The director follows Wang as he works with bamboo, rattan, and wood, meditating upon his memories of growing up the mountains to create serene installations that are reminiscent of landscape paintings.