TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The 39th National Cultural Award ceremony was held on Thursday (Aug. 20) at the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park.
The Ministry of Culture had previously announced the winners of the 39th National Cultural Awards in February. They are traditional puppeteer Chen Hsi-hung(陳錫煌) and National Performing Arts Center (NPAC) Chairman and founder of Ju Percussion Group (朱宗慶打擊樂團) Ju Tzong-ching (朱宗慶).
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and Minister of Culture Lee Yung-te (李永得) both made appearances at the ceremony. Su told those assembled that culture is the root of every nation, adding that both of the recipients are national treasures.
“Whoever is interested in learning puppetry he teaches,” Su said of Chen. At the age of 78, Chen founded an organization to teach young people and foreigners the lost art of puppetry.
Ju told the audience that during his rural upbringing 50 years ago many people did not consider his choice of career very prudent. However, his parents believed in him, and they gave him the chance to study in Vienna, for which he is grateful.
The prize money from his award, he explained, will be donated to Taipei National University of the Arts, where he began his career in Taiwan after returning from Vienna, to sponsor lectures on percussion.
Members of the Ju Percussion Group performed and saluted Ju in the ceremony.