As part of the Ministry of Culture's ongoing efforts to deepen cultural exchanges with Australia, Taiwanese indigenous artists will join the YIRRAMBOI Festival in Melbourne from May 4 to 11. The "Taiwan Focus" program will be accompanied by a "Taiwan Night" reception on May 6.
Hailing from the Ihownang village in Hualien, Truku artist Labay Eyong (林介文) has inherited knowledge of traditional Truku weaving culture and pays respect through her art to the female elders who taught her these practices. She will host a thread-weaving workshop on May 5. Her "Red Dinosaur," a large-scale installation reflecting on her role as a woman and mother in contemporary Taiwanese culture, will also be on display.
Performance artist Dondon Hounwn (東冬‧侯溫) will demonstrate a deep spiritual-healing ritual known as smapux, meaning "shaman" in Truku, from May 7 to 11. The first stage initiates dialogue with local spirits, followed by the release of subconscious information, and the third stage strives for a balanced spiritual power between self and spirits.
Watan Tusi (瓦旦．督喜), founder of TAI Body Theatre, will showcase his new dystopian dance piece inspired by indigenous writer Ising Suaiyung's novel "Red Earth" on May 10 and 11. As human habitats are increasingly populated with rubbish and materials that will not break down, people and waste matter will eventually become indistinguishable. He will also hold two workshops on Taiwan's indigenous dance and music.
Other participating Taiwanese artists will include award-winning singer-songwriter Ilid Kaolo (以莉‧高露) of the Amis tribe and Rose Mary (羅斯瑪麗) of the Atayal tribe, who was the inaugural winner of Taiwan's Miss First Nation drag pageant.
In 2018, YIRRAMBOI participated in Taiwan’s Pulima Art Festival for the first time, establishing an exciting new reciprocal relationship between Taiwanese and Australian First Nation creatives. With support from the City of Melbourne and Taiwan's Ministry of Culture and the Indigenous Peoples Cultural Foundation, Taiwanese artists will realize new projects across visual arts, music, and performance at YIRRAMBOI Festival 2019.
Special thanks to Jacob Boehme, former creative director of YIRRAMBOI and current member of the Ministry of Culture’s Southeast Asia Advisory Committee, for bridging Taiwanese and Australian arts and cultural communities.