Rukai artist Pacake (杜寒菘) has introduced a vending machine that sells picture books featuring the Rukai culture in Southern Taiwan's Pingtung.

The vending machine has been operating since late June, and Pacake says that children in New Haocha Village (新好茶村) have been buying books from it since the first day. He says many children are curious about the machine and tourists have come especially to purchase books from it.

Pacake points out that many tourists want to learn more about the village through books after visiting, and he hopes the vending machine can help them get to know the tribe better.

The artist came up with the idea of the vending machine because there were no bookstores in the village. He applied for funding from the Ministry of Culture, got it, and built the machine.

Born in Old Haocha Village (舊好茶村), Pacake went to school in the city, but his parents spoke to him in the tribal language and would tell him stories of the village. In 2000, he helped reconstruct stone slab houses and paths in the village, and started searching for his cultural roots through illustrating the daily lives of his people. The artist has since published two picture books.

Pacake’s art was also featured in the Taipei MRT in August 2015, and has decorated the outer walls of the Rinari Tourist Center in Pingtung. His art features the traditions of the Rukai people and are usually done in black and white to portray the simple lives his people led in the past.

Edited by J. Michael Cole