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“Island.Memory—Depicting Taiwan 50 Years” 2023 National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall Collection Exhibition See Taiwan from Art Collections

     The collection exhibition “Island.Memory—Depicting Taiwan 50 Years” organized by National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall of Ministry of Culture started from December 29, 2023. The opening ceremony was held today (Jan. 5). The distinguished guests including Director-general Wang Lan-sheng, Minister Feng Shih-kuan of Veterans Affairs Council, Director Hsiao Tsung-huang of National Palace Museum, artists Liao Shiou-ping, Yim Mau-kun, Li Chung-chung, Chen Jia-zi, Yu Zhen-ming, curator Chuang Tzu, President Lai Jun-xian of Taipei Municipal Guangfu Elementary School, and the staff of Veterans Affairs Council attended the ceremony. At the opening ceremony, the string orchestra of Taipei Municipal Guangfu Elementary School gave the beautiful music performance as a prelude to the precious collections of the hall.


     Director-general Wang Lan-sheng of National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall said in the past Chungshan National Gallery of the hall mostly served as the space for senior artists in Taiwan to hold solo exhibitions. As the hall is about to undergo renovation and enter another stage, the collection exhibition “Island.Memory—Depicting Taiwan 50 Years” is organized. With the historical context of the development of Taiwan, more than 3,000 collections have been selected to embody the historical memories of Taiwan. From the subjects at the entrance, “Creating the Brand Image of the Republic of China” and “Identifying with the Orthodox Culture,” we can see how the artists depict Dr. Sun Yat-sen and Taiwan in the process of development in the early days of construction. At the north exhibition room, “Where We Are-The Humanistic Landscapes Emerging from the Land,” we can appreciate the prosperous landscapes and beautiful scenery of the island, including the collaborative painting “Landscape of Formosa,” Lu Fo-ting’s “Yushan Sunrise,” and many other great works.


      Minister Feng Shih-kuan of Veterans Affairs Council said he was happy to be invited to the collection exhibition of National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, “Island.Memory—Depicting Taiwan 50 Years.” He was touched by the exhibition of Hu Si-wei’s “Air Battle over the Taiwan Strait.” The work depicting the aerial combat was painted by then Air Force Major Hu Si-wei. During the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1958, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army wildly invaded our airspace over the strait. Our Air Force dispatched 9,094 sorties of various types of aircrafts. Two sides engaged in 13 air battles. The result was brilliant with a total of more than 30 communist MiG-17 aircrafts shot down. The painting reminded him of the days of serving in the military. Every time he took off, he was never afraid of death. He is still proud of that sense of glory. He is grateful to National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall for specially displaying this work to show the fearless spirit of the Air Force.


     Director Hsiao Tsung-huang of National Palace Museum said National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall was established in the context of the Chinese Cultural Renaissance Movement. Due to its location and purpose, it has become a museum very close to the local community. The main building of the hall, designed by the famous domestic architect, Wang Da-hong, is a modernist-style building of the traditional materials. The exhibition theme “Island.Memory—Depicting Taiwan 50 Years” has another interpretation that the hall has accompanied all citizens and artists for fifty years. It is estimated that more than 10,000 artists have held exhibitions at the hall, which is significant to the development of art in Taiwan.


     The artist, Mr. Liao Shiou-ping, said he was glad to see his works exhibited together with those of the deceased seniors, Huang Jun-bi, Lin Yu-shan, Lee Shi-chi, and Ho Chau-chu at the collection exhibition “Island.Memory—Depicting Taiwan 50 Years.” He expressed his gratitude to the support and promotion of National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall for providing the opportunities for the artists to hold International Print Biennial and Taiwan-Japan Art Exchange Exhibition. The foreign artists can participate in the exhibitions in Taiwan, and the Taiwanese artists also have the opportunities to exchange experiences in Japan.


      National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall is one of the most important visual art exhibition venues. Artists are also proud of exhibiting their works at Chungshan National Gallery. “Island.Memory—Depicting Taiwan 50 Years” as the last self-organized special exhibition at Chungshan National Gallery before the hall is closed for renovation has the significant meaning to the hall. Since the establishment of the hall in 1972, more than 4,000 exhibitions have been organized. The pulsation of Taiwanese society can be seen from the historical documents and collected works of the exhibition. As the most important place to get close to art and culture in early days, the hall also plays an important part in people’s exhibition memories in daily life. These connections can be found in the collections. It is hoped that everyone will explore the stories of the island of Taiwan together with the works.


      The collection exhibition “Island.Memory—Depicting Taiwan 50 Years” is presented in a thematic style. The south and north exhibition rooms respectively feature “The Production of Memory-The History Written with Art” and “Where We Are-The Humanistic Landscapes Emerging from the Land.” Different colors are used to distinguish the different themes of the two exhibition rooms. “The Production of Memory-The History Written with Art” includes four subjects: “Creating the Brand Image of the Republic of China,” “Identifying with the Orthodox Culture,” “A Guide to Modern Life in the 20th Century,” and “Giant Memorial in the City,” exhibiting the collections mainly for the government’s propaganda purposes such as inheriting the Chinese culture and displaying the national political achievements in the early days of the celebrity memorial hall. We can have a glimpse of the narrative structure at that time through the collections, which also evoke the collective memories of the Taiwanese people.


      “Where We Are-The Humanistic Landscapes Emerging from the Land” including three subjects, “Whereabouts of Mountains and Waters,” “Landscapes of Our Island,” and “Paint Our Inner Words” mainly depicts the local humanistic landscapes of Taiwan. The viewers can follow the historical axis and trace back to the 1970s, when artists turned their attention to the local land under the trend of the nativist movement, and to the 1980s, when they reflected on the realistic social issues and broke through the traditional framework of art. With the political changes of democratization, National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall has gradually developed towards localization and diversification. The collections also shift from the works of strong political styles to those donated by the local artists. The diverse artistic styles ranging from the nativist movement, abstract art, to social criticism can be observed.


      The collection exhibition “Island.Memory—Depicting Taiwan 50 Years” displays a total of 72 outstanding works, including the rare works created by the senior artists in the early days, such as Lin Yu-shan’s “Petrochemical Industrial Zone,” Su Fung-nan’s “Suao Port,” and the painting album “Modern Chinese Self-Admonition” with strong social norms. The exhibited portraits of Dr. Sun Yat-sen include Xu Jiu-lin’s “Portrait of Dr. Sun Yat-sen,” Yim Mau-Kun’s “Sun Yar-sen,” and Li Zi-jian’s “Portrait of Dr. Sun Yat-sen.” The ink paintings of the Taiwanese landscapes interpreted by the painters who migrated to Taiwan across the strait and local painters include Lu Fo-ting’s “Yushan Sunrise,” the collaborative painting “Landscape of Formosa,” and Lin Chin-chung’s “A Scene of the Cross-Island Highway.” The works showing the Taiwanese charm include Su Hsien-fa’s “Golden Shower,” Ho Chau Chu’s “Tamsui Church,” Hsieh Li-fa’s “Spring Breeze,” and Liao Shiou-ping’s “Gate of Life (I).” The works that reflect on the real society and show concern for the environment of Taiwan and diverse ethnic groups include Max Liu’s “Morning Broken by a Crowing Rooster” and A-Sun Wu’s “Waiting.” The abstract paintings integrating eastern art and western concepts and conveying feelings through points, lines, and surfaces include Chu Ko’s “The Trace of Time-Origin II,” Chen Cheng-hsiung’s “Symphony of Blue and Green” and Li Chung-chung’s “Night in the Forest.”


       “See Taiwan from Art Collections” is the original intention of the exhibition. Through a series of exhibits, we can return to the past and understand people’s experiences, choices, and strong vitality in the different backgrounds of time and space. The development of fine arts is rooted in the society. Artworks have to be recognized by the society to be preserved. Art is an experience of beauty, and it is also a carrier of social culture to pass on the stories from generation to generation and interpret the life history of different groups. Over the past decades, the more than 3,000 pieces of Taiwanese creations and historical materials collected by National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall are extremely precious. In the future, the hall will uphold the mission of cultural construction and continue to promote collection, research, exhibition, and education. For more information of the exhibition, please visit the official website of National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall,, or call the service counter, (02) 27588008, ext. 545, 546.