One of the highlights of the awards calendar in Asia, the 19th Taishin Arts Award, held earlier this month, was livestreamed for the first time ever, after a new wave of the Covid-19 pandemic hit Taiwan.
The Awards, organised by the Taishin Bank Foundation for Arts and Culture, has supported the creation of contemporary visual arts, performing arts and interdisciplinary arts in Taiwan for two decades. In 2020, many events and activities were halted, before numerous exhibition and performance projects were revived and presented during the second half of the year.
From more than 100 nominees, 15 finalists were named before the three award laureates were selected by a jury with theater director LI Huan-Hsiung serving as chair. The jury also included poet and theater director-playwright Hung Hung, art historian CHEN Kuang-Yi, artist KAO Jun-Honn, curator and art critic LU Pei-Yi, the artistic director of the Digital Art Foundation WANG Po-Wei, and the CEO of the International Organisation of Scenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians (OISTAT) WEI Wan-Jung.
The prestigious ceremony, which was live-streamed on 10 July, awarded a total prize pot of NT$ 3.5m [3.5 million New Taiwan Dollars, or about $125,500.
The three prizewinners were as follows:
- Grand Prize: Yeh Ming-Hwa, The House Behind the Wall – Wang Da Hong House Theatre X Ming Hwa Yeh (NT$ 1.5m prize) (pictured above)
- The Visual Arts Award: Chang Ting-Tong, Cheng Hsien-Yu and Dino, Taipei Robot Man 2.0: Infodemic(NT$1m prize)
- The Performing Arts Award: Chen Wu-Kang X Jérôme Bel, Dances for Wu-Kang Chen—2020 Taipei Arts Festival (NT$1m prize)
Taipei Robot Man 2.0: Infodemic (below) used digital technologies to reflect the social landscape of the Covid-19 pandemic; “The work straddles typical and atypical exhibition spaces and the artists are highly sensitive to contemporary issues and use the agency of artistic creation to expose the incendiary power of explosive messages and the naked fragility of human beings in the midst of a pandemic that no one can predict its termination,” said the jury.
Dances for Wu-Kang Chen, (below) debuted in the 2020 Taipei Arts Festival and was conceived by French artist Jérôme BEL and Taiwanese dancer-choreographer Chen Wu-Kang. The jury commented: “The work is a successful demonstration of the creative quality of performance in constructing the uniqueness of an individual.”
The Grand Prize winner, Yeh Ming-Hwa, was invited by the Taipei Fine Arts Museum to tailor-make The House Behind the Wall for Wang Da Hong House Theatre. Yeh told the life journey of architect Wang Da-Hong into a performance in three episodes, interlacing dance, traditional theatre, performance and video.
“This project is a site-specific performance in the Wang Da Hong House Theatre, an extended space of the Taipei Museum of Fine Arts,” commented the jury. “It consists of three episodes Above/Strolling/Living that develop from outside to inside. Physically the performance grows from outside the wall to inside the house, and psychologically the audience’s role shifts from watching a performance to participation. Yeh Ming-Hwa explores the complex significance of Wang Da Hong House Theatre… and through the interplay between architecture, contemporary dance, Chinese opera and video art, she creates a unique experience for the audience while advancing the artistic practice of interdisciplinary exploration.”
In his speech, the chairman of the Taishin Bank Foundation for Arts and Culture, Mr. Simon Cheng said: “Although an in-person award ceremony is not available at the moment, we believe what is more important is the encouragement to the artists. The million-dollar prize money for the laureates and the hundred-thousand-dollar monetary incentive for other finalists are surely a timely and needed aid for all the artists and arts teams.”
Jury chairman Li Huan-Hsiung described the artists as “humble and confident, assiduous but rich, subaltern yet surpassing, disadvantaged but courageous,” and said that he felt honoured to be a member of such a community.
Executive director of the Foundation, Yali Cheng commented: “The year 2021 is a greater challenge for us all, but it is our belief that any and every situation we experience has its merit. Art demonstrates a greater power when encountering restraints and difficulties.”
Please visit the official website to watch the livestreamed ceremony and remarks from the winners and to find out more about their work.
Below: Executive Director of the Foundation Yali Cheng, Chairman Simon Cheng, and the chair of the final selection jury, LI Huan Hsiung
Official Awards website: https://award.taishinart.org.tw/
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