“The Forgotten Vanishing” by Eleng Luluan from Pingtung County in southern Taiwan is one of 21 pieces featuring at the Green Island Human Rights Art Festival. (Courtesy of NHRM)
The Green Island Human Rights Art Festival, running May 15 to Sept. 15 in southeastern Taiwan’s Taitung County, is strengthening cultural and creative exchanges between artists from home and abroad.
Organized by the National Human Rights Museum under the Ministry of Culture, GIHRAF features 21 pieces by 14 artists and groups spanning categories like archaeology, immersive theater, installation, performance, picture book and video. Sideline activities include guided tours, interactive presentations and workshops.
GIHRAF is held at Green Island White Terror Memorial Park, which along with Jing-Mei White Terror Memorial Park in New Taipei City, is Taiwan’s most important historical site documenting persecution of political dissidents during 38 years of martial law.
NHRM Director Chen Chun-hung said this year’s event is significant as it is the first time for overseas artists to participate. Some of the standouts are Ashmina Ranjit and Baan Noorg Collaborative Arts and Culture from New Southbound Policy target countries Nepal and Thailand, respectively.
It is hoped the international flavor of GIHRAF will fast-track its development into a leading regional festival for contemporary artists addressing human rights, Chen added.
A key plank in the government’s national development strategy, NSP seeks to enhance Taiwan’s agricultural, business, cultural, education, tourism and trade ties with the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states, six South Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand
According to GIHRAF curator Sandy Hsiu-chih Lo, the inclusiveness of the event is complemented by a thematic exploration of unrealized human rights among the marginalized. Showcasing such serious issues will encourage these at-risk groups to challenge societal norms and seek alternative paths to reversing oppression, she added.
Another highlight of GIHRAF is the “Remembrance and Marginalization” exhibition by Taipei National University of the Arts. Curator Wang Pao-hsuan said the specially selected creation invoke the painful memories of the past as Taiwan transitioned to a full-fledged democracy.
NHRM is the country’s primary facility for collecting and preserving historical documents and materials relating to human rights from the end of Japanese colonial rule (1895-1945) to the lifting of martial law five years after Taiwan proper in outlying Kinmen and Matsu islands Nov. 7, 1992.