TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The National Center of Photography and Images (NCPI) has finally come to fruition after years of careful planning by the Ministry of Culture (MOC), opening its doors in Taipei on Wednesday (March 24).
As a result of the government's cultural rescue project in 2015, NCPI Taipei will serve as an arena for the exhibition, education, and promotion of Taiwan's photography and image arts. Meanwhile, its Taichung office — inside the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts — will be used for research and collections.
Visitors to the city will have easy access to the museum as it is located across from Taipei Railway Station, at 70, Sec. 1, Zhongxiao West Road, in Zhongzheng District. The building was originally used as the Taipei branch of Japan's shipping company Osaka Shosen Kaisha during the Japanese colonial era (1895-1945) and it is the only known work of the renowned Japanese architect Watanabe Setsu, in Taiwan.
During its soft opening period, from now until April 18, the museum will feature three exhibitions: "A Handful of Dust: From the Cosmic to the Domestic," curated by David Company from the International Center of Photography in New York; "Hold the Mirror up to His Gaze: the Early History of Photography in Taiwan," curated by Taiwanese artist Lin Hong-john (林宏璋); and "Trans-Communication: From Osaka Shosen Kaisha to National Center of Photography and Images," which examines the history and restoration of the three-story building.
Photographs of Taiwanese landscapes and Indigenous tribes taken by American photographer St Julian Hugh Edwards and Scottish photographer John Thomson in 1869 are among the artworks on display.
Speaking at the opening ceremony on Wednesday, Deputy Minister of Culture Hsiao Tsung-huang (蕭宗煌) said photographers are able to retain the memories of culture, land, and people through their lens. With the establishment of NCPI Taipei, the country will finally have its own space to preserve its photographic assets, he remarked.
Chang Tsang-sang (張蒼松), a member of NCPI Taipei's collection advisory committee, said the museum has been collecting glass and film negatives, as well as photographs, since 2016 and currently houses thousands of items. He also expressed the hope that universities across Taiwan will offer degrees in photography to cultivate local talents.
Photography by John Thomson in 1869 (NCPI photo)
Photograph by Kuan Shiao-jung in 1984 (NCPI photo)