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The opening ceremony of the 2023 First Austronesian Art Triennial, “RamiS,” took place, marking a new course for Austronesian art to reach the world.

The first “Taiwan International Austronesian Art Triennial (TIAAT),” organized by the Council of Indigenous Peoples and the Ministry of Culture, and hosted by the Council of Indigenous Peoples’ Indigenous Peoples’ Cultural Development Center (INDIGI), hereinafter referred to as the exhibition, held its opening ceremony today (10/28) at the Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park (located in Majia Township, Pingtung County). The opening ceremony symbolized the research on the formation of Austronesian culture in Taiwan 5000 years ago and its brave exploration of the world. It also invited the Macacadaay Cultural Art Group, the preserver of the important traditional performing arts “Amis Ma Lan,” registered in 2021, to gather and sing for the Austronesians.

Icyang Parod, Chairman of the Council of Indigenous Peoples, stated at the opening ceremony, “In recent years, the Council for Indigenous Peoples has promoted the re-establishment of the Austronesian Peoples’ Forum, conducted research on Taiwan and Austronesian countries and regions, including the translation and publication of important academic works, inviting visits and subsidies for traditional sports and museum exchanges, etc. After four years of preparation, we are launching today’s Austronesian Art Triennial, which marks an important milestone in the history of Indigenous art. We want the world to deeply understand that Taiwan is a treasure trove of Austronesian wisdom, language, and culture.”

The first edition of the exhibition, “RamiS,” is jointly curated by Nakaw Putun and Etan Pavavalung, each proposing sub-themes “Becoming Animate Beings” and “Why We Are Who We Are” in response to the main theme of the exhibition. It brings together 25 artists in three major exhibition areas: Octagonal Pavilion, Cultural Artifacts Exhibition Hall, and Lifestyle Exhibition Hall, presenting a variety of works including paintings, prints, photography, sculpture, and installations. This includes important works that represented Taiwan in the Sydney Biennale and the Kassel Documenta exhibitions in the past two years, which will be presented in Taiwan for the first time.

Octagonal Pavilion Area | This area showcases the context of the exhibition and the artists’ biographies to deepen the audience’s understanding of the overall content and context. The inaugural theme “RamiS” is derived from the ancient Austronesian language, meaning “root,” outlining the attempt of the first triennial exhibition “RamiS” to trace the origin, explore the legends and origins of Austronesian languages, migration and expansion routes, and seek answers to human coexistence with nature through art in response to contemporary life and ecological challenges.

Cultural Artifacts Exhibition Hall | Curator Nakaw Putun proposed the sub-theme “Becoming Animate Beings” and explored the animist beliefs of Indigenous peoples, reflecting on how humans can draw on ancient wisdom to regain the ability to coexist with all living beings. This parallels the artists’ keen sensitivity to imagine and explore a sustainable future for humanity.

The artists, on the path of tracing their roots and healing, move closer to the direction of spirituality and home. Aluaiy Kaumakan, on the journey back to the old Daren tribe after the 88 Typhoon Morakot disaster, “imprints” the appearance of home through weaving and then connects with the ancestral spirits through “cevulj” (smoke) to become a true human being. This is the most recent work that extends the artist’s participation in the 2022 Sydney Biennale. Labay Eyong practices weaving as a faith, narrating the landscape tension of the river basin as he travels upstream along the Xuguluan River in Hualien. Rawus Tjuljaviya presents the “Snail Paradise Trilogy – Departure or End,” a response to the species exchange caused by human navigation, exploring the spread of the invasive species African giant snail and mapping out multiple histories and colonial traces from different regions. Tanivu Tapari begins by tracing the relationship between Austronesian peoples and millet, then revives the “spinning top” to awaken the land god and imbue crops with power, reflecting the belief that all things have spirits.

Indigenous animist beliefs are embodied in life, and there is a respect for all forms of life, regardless of species, race, or gender. Lisa Reihana, a Maori artist from New Zealand, in her work “Oceanic Nomadic People,” not only examines European narratives of Pacific colonization history but also reconsiders Maori traditional culture and gender values. Idas Losin, who will represent Taiwan in the 2024 Sydney Biennale, responds to Paul Gauguin’s common portrayal of Tahitian women in his paintings using portraits of Taiwanese Indigenous men. His work examines the colonial perspective on sensory desire for women and the alien imagination of Pacific islands. Ciwas Tahos reinterprets the process of searching for wild honey to explore the narrative possibilities of land and identity, as well as the narratives of women and queer bodies. Dondon Hounwn’s work explores the relationship between Gaya, focusing on the changes in the religious and material lives of the Taroko people amidst changing times, while still hearing the small voices of traditional values.

Artists re-imagine the interconnectedness of all things, and in turn, establish a sustainable future. Reretan Pavavaljung starts by imitating the patterns on ancient carvings, sensing that everything has no boundaries, and souls exchange between them before becoming humans. Iyo Kacaw’s work, “Between You and Me,” conveys how humans can establish connections with the ocean, trees, and various life forms in a world where all things are animate. Lafin Sawmah presents a series of recent works with an ocean theme, using boat-building as a solemn ancient practice, opening a window for dialogue between Austronesian peoples and the world and commemorating Lafin’s contribution to Austronesian art as a young ancestor.

Ecology Exhibition Hall | Curator Etan Pavavalung proposed the sub-theme “Why We Are Who We Are” in an attempt to collectively think and explore the life experiences and artistic development of Austronesian peoples among the artists. They reflect on the micro-perspective of tracing their roots and contemplate the eternal relationships between us and us, us and Austronesians, us and the environment, us and the universe, us and the sustainable future.

“I Made Sukariawan’s “Barong” serves as the entrance installation, leading the audience through a Balinese-style wooden door and into the artistic world of the pulima (artisans) family. The series of wooden carvings symbolize historical circumstances and impacts they have faced. Milay Mavaliw’s “Dalal” uses intricately woven traditional bark-colored works to create the imagery of islands when they hang down from a height, symbolizing the origins of creation and the thousand-year history of Austronesian languages, resonating with the paintings on both sides. As part of Yuma Taru’s 50-year weaving and chant creation project, his mixed-media installation works “Sea・Rising” and “River・Flow” reflect the artist’s reflections and observations on engaging with Austronesian issues. Sya man Misrako’s “Island Drift” uses the beach as an image and sets up a wooden carved patchwork boat in the exhibition space, symbolizing the Austronesian peoples’ seafaring routes and addressing contemporary issues faced by Austronesian communities.

Ljailjai Tult’s “i tjaivililj (Our Future Tense)” consists of seven giant wooden sculptures arranged in a straight line near the traditional stone house on the exhibition grounds. Their uniform gaze points to the starting point and the future of the Austronesian language family. Ali Istanda’s print artwork “After the Flood There Are Islands” reinterprets the philosophy of life formed by the Bunun tribe’s mythology, rethinking the relationship between people and islands, as well as the oceanic environment.

Siyat Moses takes the theme of the “Sisin” bird from the Seediq tribe’s legend and presents a series of mixed-media installation works that combine woodblock prints with woven fabrics. Ljaljeqelan Patadalj and Sutipau Tjaruzaljum explore the topics of migration and return through collaborative videos, hand weaving, and mixed-media installations. They seek a new cultural identity for the new generation and reshape the necessary relationship between humans and the environment. Anguc Makaunamun’s “Memory Tablets” series explores the self-worth of Indigenous mobility between their homeland and urban areas. The “Surrounding Beast Head” series reshapes the appearance of humans and animals, creating new totemic symbols and establishing a new connection between humans and the environment.

Kulele Ruladen’s kinetic mechanical installation “Forms of Ancestors” converts ancient energy “fire” into modern electricity and attempts to trace the wisdom and beliefs of ancestors by using the “eagle” as one of the manifestations of ancestral spirits. Tuwak Tuyaw and Chen Shu-yen use driftwood combined with bark and fibers to create works resembling boats, islands, fruits, and seeds. These works symbolize the flow, navigation, and dissemination, echoing the Austronesian origin theory known as the “Out of Taiwan” theory. The largest landscape artwork in the exhibition comes from Chee Wai Loong’s kinetic mechanical installation “Homesick.” This work, featuring a lighthouse and a traditional Malaysian stilt house set in the middle of the sea, with kites flying on the roof, is expected to reconnect with ancestors in the floating, sounds, and shadows of the work.

The exhibition will run from October 17, 2023, to February 18, 2024, and an exhibition book titled “RamiS 溯源 TIAAT 臺灣國際南島藝術三年展” will be published alongside the exhibition. This book will include discussions, critiques, artist profiles, artwork analyses, and photos related to the inaugural “RamiS” exhibition, contributing to the systematic documentation of Austronesian art history. For more information, please visit the INDIGI official website (https://www.tacp.gov.tw/) and the Taiwan International Austronesian Art Triennial official website (https://tiaat.tacp.gov.tw/).

First Taiwan International Austronesian Art Triennial

Duration: October 17, 2023, to February 18, 2024

Opening Ceremony: October 28, 2023

Location: Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park | No. 104 Scenic Lane, Beiyeh Village, Majia Township, Pingtung County

Curators: Nakaw Putun and Etan Pavavalung

Exhibition Advisors: Gong Jow-Jiun and Tung Yuan-chao

Participating Artists:

International Artists: Chee Wai Loong, I Made Sukariawan, Lisa Reihana

Taiwanese Artists: Ali Istanda, Aluaiy Kaumakan, Anguc Makaunamun, Chen, Shu-yen, Ciwas Tahos, Dondon Hounwn, Idas Losin, Iyo Kacaw, Kulele Ruladen, Labay Eyong, Lafin Sawmah, Ljailjai Tult, Ljaljeqelan Patadalj, Milay Mavaliw, Rawus Tjuljaviya, Reretan Pavavaljung, Siyat Moses, Sutipau Tjaruzaljum, Sya man Misrako, Tanivu Tapari, Tuwak Tuyaw, Yuma Taru

Sponsored by: Council of Indigenous Peoples, Ministry of Culture

Hosted by: Indigenous Peoples’ Cultural Development Center

Media Partner:

TIAAT Media Materials Download Link: https://reurl.cc/v6QWRy

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