China, Hong Kong and Taiwan in particular receive a lot of criticism for their lack of artistic creativity. I’ve had endless conversations with fellow expats describe the places I hold dear as an "arts wasteland" where there’s "no creativity" with an over commercialization of art into tasteless semi-fashion and art "lacking any expression of individuality". Though I understand very little about "art" and perhaps even less about "culture", I’ve always seen that as an over-judgmental bias. Events like the HK Clockenflap (you MUST go if you’re in HK), fellow HK blogs like the Wanderlister, the annual HK arts festivals, and the arts districts I visited in mainland (798 in Beijing, M50 in Shanghai) give me the impression that there is much more going on that initially meets the expat eye.

 

In my last visit to Taipei I set out to try and discover a bit of the artistic side of Taiwan. I know there’s quite a lively underground music scene, and there are various film and music festivals taking place – mainly in the Taipei area – that push things forward, but when it comes to arts as pure arts districts I’ve never really taken the time to seek those out. Sure, I’ve been to the Taipei Arts Museum and more recently to the Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), but those are the more organized displays of art, not your common arts villages. Are there any arts villages in Taipei?

 

Turns out that there are, and quite a few of those, some of which you can even visit. It also seems as though the Taipei local government has been serious about promoting and opening more arts zones in the last 3-4 years since I left Taiwan. In my very short recent visit to Taipei I discovered 4 of those arts areas, which I’ll cover briefly in the upcoming weeks. The most "local" of these was the Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village which holds an interesting story.

 

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

 

Here’s from a Taipei Times article about the recent change to the Treasure Hill Juan Cun that brought this arts village to life -  "Treasure Hill reopens as an artist village" :

Treasure Hill, a former veterans’ community in Taipei City’s Gongguan (公館) area, will reopen to the public today as an artist village after four years of renovation.

The neighborhood will now include 14 art studios, two exhibition rooms and two rehearsal rooms, according to Su Yao-hua (蘇瑤華), director of Treasure Hill Artist Village’s operation center.

The community is also home to 22 families, who moved back to Treasure Hill after the renovation work. […]

In 2007, the city government’s Department of Cultural Affairs started a renovation project aimed at turning the area into an artists’ community, and sparked protests from a group of artists living in the neighborhood who refused to leave and vowed to continue occupying the area.

A total of 29 households were later moved to a transitional housing block near the construction area, and some residents chose to accept compensation of NT$720,000 (US$23,000) to move away from Treasure Hill permanently. […]

This transformation of the disappearing Juan Cun is exactly what I was hoping would happen with those villages. Rather than tear them down, why not transform them to public space, and what better way than bring in artists?

 

Since it’s an arts village, why not try and play a bit with some camera "art" to show you a bit of the place …

 

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

 

Did you get it? I’m sure you didn’t. But that’s art, right? Hopefully it atleast got you to see and think about space and objects in a slightly different way.

 

Back to the village. I was happy to see that I wasn’t alone in the village. Schools were sending kids away from school to interact with art and the artists and the place was lively with laughter and joy… which was even further enhanced by the visions of the visiting foreigner with the camera.

 

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

 

The kiddy arts exhibits were … well, they were… eh… exhibitionistic …

 

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

 

Seeing the kids interact with the art was really heartwarming, I probably spent a couple of hours watching them there…

 

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

 

 

The general look of the place is of a very old Juan Cun style…

 

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

 

 

 

Aside from arts, there are some really lovely coffee shops and galleries to chill out in…

 

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

 

Where you can lay down and read a good photography book, like the wonderful wonderful "one year performance" photography series by Tehching Hsieh I read there, a Chinese artist that redefined modern Chinese art in his visit to the US back in the days…

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

 

A real gem of a place, makes me proud to be a Taipeian (atleast at heart)…

 

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village

 

Go visit!

 

A bit more on the village :



Tags: art; artist village; arts village; festival; gong guan; taipei; Taiwan; treasure hill;


Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of
Facebook Iconfacebook like buttonTwitter Icontwitter follow buttonVisions of Travel InstagramVisions of Travel InstagramVisions of Travel Instagram