TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Rice Straw Art Festival in Hualien is underway, with the theme “lost animals, birdsong, and rice wings."
More than 20 giant-sized birds have been made from straw, along with gorillas and orangutans. Hualien’s Fuli Township is known for being a fertile area for rice production, and during the fallow winter season, it has been transformed into an outdoor sculpture garden, per UDN.
Giant gorilla made from straw. (Fuli Township Farmer's Association)
The rice straw for the sculptures came from the second rice planting and is typically crushed to become fertilizer. Rapeseed was also planted in nearby fields to not only create a sea of flowers but also enrich the soil.
Fuli Township was inspired to host the event by similar overseas exhibitions in Chiang Mai, Thailand and Niigata, Japan. The Fuli Township Farmer’s Association hosted the first event in 2019, and the event remains in the same location, a field adjacent to the Hualien Fuli Luoshan Visitor Center.
Giant owl made from straw. (Fuli Township Farmer's Association)
The artworks were created by residents of the community and specially invited artists. Aside from rice straw, other materials included bamboo from nearby mountains, woven together into an attractive design.
The farmers' association secretary-general Chang Su-hua (張素華) said this year’s exhibition is larger than previous installations, stretching across two hectares. The bird sculptures included a domestic blue magpie, a Dalmatian pelican delivering a baby, shoebill storks, and cockatiels.