Artists gather in Taipei for residency program

A dozen artists from 12 Asia-Pacific countries have come to Taiwan, including a Hong Kong artist focused on social protest movements

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Artist Lab program participants (ADAM's website photo)

Artist Lab program participants (ADAM's website photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taipei Performing Arts Center (TPAC) invited 12 artists from 12 Asian-Pacific countries to join the four-week residency program Artist Lab in Taipei, as part of Asia Discovers Asia Meeting for Contemporary Performance (ADAM).

Ip Wai-lung (葉惠龍), an artist born in China but who grew up in Hong Kong, is one of the participants. His background means he has conflicting identities, but also serves as inspiration for his artistic creations, reported CNA.

Ip's performances, photography, and films explore politics, cultural taboos, economics, religions, and personal identities. He believes public art can influence the market and socio-economic systems, according to the artist's website.

Through the residency program, Ip originally wanted to learn about the lives of Hong Kong immigrants in Taiwan. However, his focus has turned to social movements because of the protests in Hong Kong, which have intensified since he arrived in Taipei, in July.

Ip learned that some Hongkongers have set up a Lennon Wall, for love and peace, in an underground passage in Taipei's Gongguan district, for people to post notes supporting the Hong Kong protests. He teamed up with Yasen Vasilev, another Artist Lab participant, to interview people involved in the wall initiative.

"Although I cannot be there in person, I still think about how I can, as an artist, do something meaningful that is in connection with the protests in Hong Kong," Ip said. “I have two roles, one is the protester involved in the movement, and the other is a creator who should take a step back and observe."

For Ip, an artist should be involved in society and create works that raise questions and provokes viewers to reflect on their relationships with social issues. With this in mind, Ip and Vasilev are planning an interactive project, "Rehearsal for the Present," which allows those who have never joined any social movement to experience protest rallies.

The theme for this year's Artist Lab is "Performing (with/in) Communities: Relations, Politics and Dynamics," with the visiting artist from Japan, Natsuki Ishigami, as the main curator. The 12 chosen artists have been touring Taipei and interacting with local communities in order to find creative ideas for their artworks, according to ADAM's official website.

From Aug. 15-17, the curators and artists will take turns to share their thoughts on their creations from the residency program at Dadaocheng Theater.