Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Taiwan artist's 'flooded' display highlights Tuvalu crisis

Taiwan artist's 'flooded' display highlights Tuvalu crisis

Taipei, May 16 (CNA) Taiwanese artist Vincent J.F. Huang (???), representing Tuvalu at one of the world's premier contemporary art exhibitions, has created a "flooded pavilion" to highlight the perils facing the South Pacific island country as a result of climate change. Huang's latest project, developed in cooperation with Dutch-born curator Thomas J. Berghuis, is now on display at Tuvalu's national pavilion at the Venice Biennale, which is being held May 9-Nov. 22 in Italy under the theme "All the World's Futures." The installation, titled "Crossing the Tide," adopts ideas from the Taoist classic book "Zhuangzi" (??), focusing on the concept of "man and nature as one," Huang told CNA. Spread over 300 square meters, the pavilion draws attention to the issue of mankind's pursuit of economic and material gains in today's capitalist world and the impact on the natural environment, the 44-year-old artist said. "The installation depicts a scene of only the sea and the sky, symbolizing the disappearance of land masses" as a result of rising sea levels caused by global warming, said Huang, who has visited Tuvalu twice to set up eco-art projects aimed at drawing attention to the country's vulnerability to climate change. To create a sea effect, Huang's team pumped water from Venice's canals to the venue, while "clouds' are created by machines ejecting smoke every 10 minutes. Wooden bridges have been erected up at the venue to allow visitors to cross the "sea," Huang said. "The sea is crystal blue, because that is the color Tuvalu's lagoon," he said. The display, which cost about NT$12 million (US$394,000) to produce, has grabbed the attention of the international media and attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors, Huang said. The Tuvalu government's special envoy, parliamentarian Samuelu Penitala Teo, has also visited the pavilion and has seen what art can do for his country, Huang said. Through the project, Huang hopes to provoke people into thinking about environmental justice. The developed countries' pursuit of economic development and production of massive carbon emissions are putting developing countries such as Tuvalu at risk, he argued. The flooded pavilion not only depicts the crisis facing Tuvalu, but also can relate to Venice, a city that is surrounded by water and is sinking as a result of rising sea levels, Huang said. Huang, who is on a quick trip home, said he will return to Italy later this year to organize other events at the Venice Biennale. To continue his efforts to help Tuvalu, he said, he is planning to launch an online crowdfunding platform to raise funds from all over the world to help Tuvalu fight its environmental crisis. A low-lying nation, Tuvalu could be one of the first victims of rising sea levels caused by global climate change. It is the second time that Huang has been commissioned by the Tuvalu government to organize the country's national pavilion at the Venice Biennale. He also worked on Tuvalu's behalf at exhibitions held in conjunction with the United Nations climate change conferences in 2012 and 2013. Concerned about the peril of rising sea levels faced by Tuvalu, one of Taiwan's diplomatic allies, Huang visited the country in 2010 and 2012, setting up art installations in a bid to draw attention to the crisis. (By Elaine Hou)


Updated : 2021-09-18 14:20 GMT+08:00