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Female Photographers from Taiwan

MEDIA RELEASE 18 August 2015

For immediate release

6 September – 15 November 2015

The Whangarei Art Museum presents Narrative of Light and Shadow – Female Photographers from Taiwan exhibiting five photographic series by Wang Hsiao-chin, Chien Fu-yu, Chang Hsiu-huang and Chang Yung-chieh.

Wang Hsiao-chin uses portraiture to explore the 15 years after her own pregnancy. She uses her experience of motherhood and a meditation on the passage of time in pursuit of self-understanding and "remembrance of things past."

Chien Fu-yu’s involvement with the women's movement began in the 1980s. She began working as a photographer for such magazines during the Martial Law period (1949-1987), using her camera to record the women's movement, at which time she also began to shoot female portraits. Chien says: "Using the camera and pen as tools to care about and record people and things — especially women — is what got me into photography in the first place, and continues to be a commitment of mine to this day."

Chang Hsiu-huang took up photography by chance, initially taking pictures of flowers and gradually developing an interest in landscape photography. It was through her photographic work that she came to realise that Taiwan, although small, has a wealth of beautiful scenery, a rich folk culture and extensive cultural relics. "Taiwan's small size means it is easy to switch between enjoying mountain scenery to appreciating an ocean view," she says.

Chang Yung-chieh was born on Taiwan's outlying island of Penghu. In 1996 Chang returned to her hometown to establish the Hexi Cultural Workshop, dedicated to recording the archipelago's cultural and oral history. The ceremonies centered on the Eternal Treasure Ship have a strong seafaring flavour and are a very important part of the folk beliefs of Taiwan’s coastal communities. The Eternal Treasure Ship series, shot between 2003 and 2010, gives a record of the most important ceremonies involved, such as greeting the king, patrolling, and sending off the king, and their associated activities.

The Heirs of the Clouded Leopard series records the way of life of the Rukai aboriginal people of Kochapongane Village, in southern Taiwan’s Pingtung County. In 1977, faced with a changing society, the villagers uprooted en masse and relocated to a new place by Beidawu Mountain, above the lower reaches of Nan-ailiao.

Exhibition supported by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Auckland.

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