Minister of Culture Cheng Li-chiun mourned the March 22 passing of Lee Shi-chi (李錫奇), an iconic artist who helped modernize art in Taiwan, noting that the Ministry of Culture will begin the process of applying for a posthumous presidential citation for the late "Variegated Bird of Art (畫壇變調鳥)."
Born on the outlying Kinmen Island in 1938, Lee attended the Department of Arts at Provincial Taipei Normal College (today's National Taipei University of Education) and began his art career in the 1950s. In the sixty-plus years since, he has not only combined eastern and western schools of art and theories, but also experimented with a range of materials and forms encompassing prints, traditional ink wash paintings, abstract calligraphy, mixed media, and installations, giving rise to his sobriquet as the "Variegated Bird of Art."
From the start of his career, Lee actively joined art movements across Taiwan. Along with veteran artists Yang Ying-feng (楊英風) and Chen Ting-shih (陳庭詩), he served as co-founder of the Modern Print Association (現代版畫會) in 1958 and was an influential member of the Tong Fong Painting Association (東方畫會).
From 1978 to 1990, Lee ran three art galleries to provide a platform for Taiwanese artists to showcase their works and interact with the international arts community. Through his galleries, local artists were able to share ideas and experiences with notable Asian artists who worked and traveled abroad. In those twelve years, Lee hosted roughly 160 exhibitions in his galleries, promoting numerous new artists in Taiwan.
As artist, curator, and educator, Lee spared no effort in cultivating the arts in Taiwan. He was also appointed national policy advisor to the president in 2010, and honored by the 16th National Award for Arts for his artistic experimentation in 2012. He passed away on the eve of March 22, at the age of 81.
Read the original press release here.