Centennial of historic Taiwanese Cultural Association celebrated

Role of Chiang Wei-shui and resistance to Japanese colonialism lauded, Da An Hospital drawings launched

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Miniature drawings of Da An Hospital (Taiwan News photo)

Miniature drawings of Da An Hospital (Taiwan News photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As a tribute to the upcoming centennial of the establishment of Chiang Wei-shui's (蔣渭水) Taiwanese Cultural Association, a series of miniature drawings of Da An Hospital was launched on Friday (Oct. 16) by the Chiang Wei-shui Cultural Foundation.

Since the 1920s, Da An Hospital in Taipei’s Dadaocheng district has been more than just a clinic where Chiang received and treated patients. It also played an important role in Chiang's non-violent resistance movement against Japanese colonial rule in Taiwan, as well as efforts to promote Taiwanese culture.

The two-story mansion that fused oriental and Western architectural styles saw the birth of the Taiwanese Cultural Association in 1921, when Chiang helped promote the Petition Movement for the Establishment of a Taiwanese Parliament — one of the nation's earliest political movements. Chiang later opened a bookstore, published the newspaper “Taiwan Minpao,” and held multiple cultural events, using Da An Hospital as a base.

Taiwanese illustrator Du Fu-an (杜福安) said the project had involved a great deal of research on the architectural and interior design of the hospital that no longer exists today. Du is also responsible for a comic book about Chiang and a picture book on Taiwan history.

Du Fu-an (Taiwan News photo)

In addition to referencing images online, Du said he relied on materials and archives provided by the foundation, pointing out that discussions with the foundation’s executive officer Chiang Chao-gen (蔣朝根) ensured that every detail is faithful to the original site nearly a century ago.

“I drew to the point that I almost went blind!” joked Du, pointing to the thin lines that portray the rooftop tiles of Da An Hospital, and the tiny words printed on the newspaper shown in Chiang Wei-shui's office.

“Da An Hospital can be seen as a starting point for Taiwan’s democracy and cultural and social movements,” stated Chiang Chao-gen. “It has gained historic status.”

He added that by presenting the miniature drawings of Da An Hospital and highlighting its use as a store, gathering place, office, and home “we want to demonstrate what was happening at the site” and give the public a better understanding of Chiang Wei-shui’s life.

Da An Hospital miniature drawings (Taiwan News photo)

As for the comic book about Chiang Wei-shui that was published in 2019 and launch of the Da An Hospital miniature drawings, Chiang Chao-gen noted the goal of the foundation is to make young people aware of Chiang Wei-shui's contributions to Taiwan and the political and cultural activities of intellectuals in the 1920s.

Jou Yi-cheng (周奕成), initiator of the Tua-Tiu-Tiann International Festival of Arts​, observed the establishment of the Taiwanese Cultural Association in 1921 marked the beginning of Taiwanese identity. As an activist, Chiang Wei-shui had great insight about the future his generation was to face, Jou said.

Jou Yi-cheng (Taiwan News photo)

Jou added that when recollecting the golden years for art and cultural affairs in the 1920s, it is equally important to remember the era represented a brief lull of peace ahead of global conflict and authoritarian domination.

“We cannot take everything for granted. The democracy and peace [we enjoy] in Taiwan could vanish,” Jou said. “If we do not protect these values, it is possible they will disappear.”

Da An Hospital miniature drawings (Taiwan News photo)