By Gaya Travel on May 22, 2017
Heading to Taipei soon? Why not make a stop at VT Artsalon where travellers can have a glimpse into life during the White Terror, through an exhibition called ‘Confronting Memories’ by artist Wang Ding-Yeh.
The show – especially dedicated to his grandfather, Yuanfang Wang, who was murdered during the dark period – deals with fragments and figments of the dark period.
The White Terror refers to the dark period in Taiwan history between 1947-1987 in which thousands of Taiwanese were imprisoned, tortured, and executed for their real or supposed opposition to the Chinese Nationalist Party.
This forty year period of martial law was one of the longest in the world, surpassed only by Syria.
The human rights abuses that occurred during this period continue to haunt Taiwan. It has been three decades since White Terror and authoritarianism ended, and yet truth and justice remain evaded. There has been no non-partisan recognition that this terrible period of history took place.
Documents and voices have been destroyed, proof has been hidden, history rewritten. This exhibition seeks to bring these things back into being, and recognise the aftershocks of the bloody trauma that continue to reverberate in the Taiwanese psyche, and in the island nation’s relationship to mainland China.
Confronting Memories is part of Island Hopping—Reversing Imperialism, a five year project that advocates an arts-based demarcation of the geopolitics of the Pacific Islands. The venture aims to rewrite the history and demarcate the geography of the region by discarding the concept of ‘Asia’ imposed by the Occident with a series of exhibitions, installations, and curatorial and research programmes.
Wang Ding-Yeh, born in 1978 in Taipei, specializes in video installation and painting. His works have been exhibited in Taiwan, the United States, Israel, France, and Germany.
Confronting Memories is currently staged at VT Artsalon, a gallery in Taiwan founded by a guerrilla-art collective.