Amis wood-carving artist Siki Sufin (希巨蘇飛), who is best known for transforming driftwood to artistic sculptures, will hold a special exhibition at the Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum this June.
Siki, 51, is a Taitung native who has been striving in particular for the preservation of his E'tolan community's history and culture through visual and performance arts. His efforts have helped younger generations embrace their Amis heritage and drawn public attention to Taiwan's indigenous cultures.
Siki's wood-carving crafts focus on the angle and direction of each cut instead of relying on polished and exquisite decorations. Siki believes that this allows each piece of wood to shine with its natural characteristics and sheen, which can better direct attention to the elements that symbolize his indigenous heritage.
One significant work by Siki is known as the "Wings of Takasago (高砂的翅膀).” The sculpture was created for a particular group of Taiwanese aborigines, known as the Takasago Volunteers (高砂義勇軍), who sacrificed their lives during World War II while fighting in New Guinea and the Philippines.
Taking inspiration from Amis mythology, which says if a tribe member dies in a foreign land, ancestral spirits would bless the dead with a pair of wings that would take him or her home, Siki created a wooden soldier sculpture with a pair of soaring wings. "Wings of Takasago” hopes to bring the spirits of lost soldiers home and call attention to a forgotten piece of history.
"Wings of Takasago,” which features prominently on the event poster, and other larger-than-life sculptures by Sufi will be displayed at the Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum from June 6 through 25. Additional on-site performances will be presented by Japanese dancer Naohito Ota (太田直史).
"Spirit of E'tolan” was organized as part of the 2017 H.O.T. Islands Music Festival, in which HOT is stylized with capital letters because it also stands for Hualien, Okinawa, and Taitung. More information about this year's lineup of concerts and events can be found here.
‘Spirit of E'tolan'