The Chiayi Art Museum is hosting its first exhibition one month after it opened in the city of Chiayi in Central Taiwan. The museum is a part of Taiwan’s plan to reconstruct the island’s history of art.

The exhibition, titled “Re-visiting Landscape,” features a series of landscape paintings that explore how human beings treat their relationship with the environment, nature, and cities.

The museum is located in the Taiwan Tobacco and Wine Monopoly Bureau from the Japanese colonial era. Built in 1936, the architecture is hailed as the first historical site in Chiayi to be renovated with a modern touch.

The collection includes artwork of well-known Taiwanese painters born in Chiayi, Tan Ting-pho (陳澄波) and Lin Yu-shan (林玉山), who have had a great impact on local art history. Visitors can also expect to see the contemporary artwork that shapes Chiayi’s cultural scene.

Tan, born in 1895, the year when the Qing Dynasty ceded Taiwan to Japan after losing the first Sino-Japanese War, was known for his oil paintings portraying the streets of Chiayi and his devotion to promoting art education in Taiwan. In the new museum, a special exhibition space is arranged outdoors to showcase his work.

Tamsui (1933), by Tan Ting-pho, oil on canvas, collection of National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts.

Lin Yu-shan, born in 1907 under Japanese rule, was renowned for his ink and glue paintings of animals like dragons, tigers, and bears. He spent his early years learning from Tan.

Hsiao Tsung-huang, the deputy minister of culture, said that the building symbolizes the Chiayi Art Museum's desire to steer the conversation between traditional, modern, and contemporary artwork in Taiwan.

“A lot of artists who are now in heaven were looking forward to a home, and their wish has finally come true today,” Hsiao, a museum curator born in Chiayi, said at the opening event.


Photo Credit: Chiayi Art Museum

The Chiayi Art Museum opened in October.

The Chiayi Art Museum is the first museum opened since the project of “reconstructing Taiwan’s art history” was included in the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program (前瞻基礎建設計畫), the Tsai administration’s initiative in driving economic growth by investing in public infrastructure.

Cheng Li-chun, the former minister of culture who led the project, said local art history is a significant asset for Taiwan to build cultural identity, as well as confidence in its culture.

The museum, in addition to displaying artwork, hosts a library, stores, art classes, and a garden. It aims to serve as a bridge between art and the local community, enabling art to take root locally and drawing people closer to art.

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TNL Editor: Bryan Chou, Nicholas Haggerty (@thenewslensintl)

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