The Cultural Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, Sydney, worked with Melbourne-based Insite Arts to support the partnership of Aboriginal Australian artist and member of Taiwan's Ministry of Culture Southeast Asia Advisory Committee Jacob Boehme and Indigenous Taiwanese curator Biung Ismahasan in jointly holding an art workshop between September and November this year.
Through this workshop, the pair also undertook cross-cultural exchanges on the "wild dog" myths of the indigenous peoples of both countries.
Boehme is from the Kaurna and Narangga Nations of South Australia, while Ismahasan hails from Taiwan's Bunun tribe. Other participants in this exchange included the Point Pearce Community of South Australia, the Central Yorke School, and young indigenous Taiwanese students from Kaohsiung’s Namasia Junior High School. This month, the latter group also showcased the results of this workshop in their school’s Huma Garden.
The Australian "wild dog," the dingo, is an important symbol in Aboriginal Australian culture. The dingo can be found throughout the imagery, songs, teachings, and ceremonies of Australia's indigenous peoples. However, over time, these stories, songs, and dances gradually disappear due to a lack of records. Boehme hopes that through the Wild Dog project, he will be able to protect the oral traditions and cultural practices of the indigenous peoples in Australia and the Pacific. Upon learning that Taiwan's Bunun people also have wild dog myths, Boehme reached out to facilitate this Taiwan-Australia cross-cultural exchange.
Participating artists from Taiwan included Kanakanavu artist Nau Angai Kaavian from Takanua, Kaohsiung; Pinuyumayan artist Milay Mavaliw from Katratripulr, Taitung; Paiwan artist Aluaiy Kaumakan from Paridrayan, Pingtung; and Bunun artist Ismahasan Aping from Nangnisalu, Kaohsiung. Building on the cultural foundation of "wild dog myths," they are jointly writing and conveying relevant artistic skills, teaching students to complete artistic works through on-site production.
This exchange project aims to inject vitality into efforts to protect traditional indigenous culture and inspire more people to seek opportunities to connect with their own cultural identities and share those with other cultures across the world.