'Marks of Formosa' prints folk culture in Taiwan
By Joseph Yeh, The China PostFor 76-year-old artist Lin Chih-hsin (林智信),woodcut prints are his way to record folk culture in Taiwan, and ultimately express his deep affection for his motherland.
August 24, 2012, 4:44 pm TWN
In line with his life-long philosophy, the veteran painter launched his solo exhibition, “Marks of Formosa” (鄉音印記), at the National Museum of History (NMH, 國立歷史博物館) on Tuesday in Taipei.
The main theme of the 150 pieces of Lin's prints on display centers on common scenes in Taiwan's rural areas in the early 1940s and '50s, including female peasants, shepherd boys and children playing with crickets, as well as other common practices and scenes from Lin's childhood.
As put by NMH Director Chang Yui-tan (張譽騰), Lin's works that portray aspects of rural life in early Taiwan have recorded the images of an era and are widely appreciated by many simply because they represent the “collective memories of Taiwanese people.”
Lin, a hardworking native-Tainan art teacher and a prolific artist, has been a well-known woodcut painting artist for decades.
His printmaking art culminated in the 124-meter-long piece “Celebrating the Matsu Festival” (迎媽祖), which depicts a common religious practice in Taiwan in worshipping the deity Goddess of the Seas, Matsu.
This piece consists of 68 woodblock pieces, each nearly a meter wide and 2 meters long. The project, which took Lin 20 years to complete, resulted in one of the largest print works in the world.
Speaking of his exhibition in the NMH, Lin said the latest show consisted of over 100 works he previously donated to the museum in the year 2000 and dozens of new donations to the NMH he recently completed.
Lin disclosed that he is currently making another even bigger project that depicts the beauty of each of the counties and cities in Taiwan. He is also thinking of making a new project that showcases the beauty of Eastern Taiwan to the world.
“I love this land more than my life and I am willing to sacrifice everything for this land,” he said.
“I will keep painting for as long as God permits me to record the beauty of Taiwan,” he added. ■
'Marks of Formosa: The NMH Collection of Lin Chih-hsin's Prints on Taiwan' (鄉音印記:館藏林智信原鄉版刻展) ► From now until Oct. 11(Thurs.) / National Museum of History (國立歷史博物館) / 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday, closed on Monday / No. 49, Nanhai Road, Taipei (台北市南海路49號) / NT$15 ~ 30 / http://www.nmh.gov.tw/
'Joy of Leisure,' mimeographic woodcut, 90 cm x 53 cm (2004)
(Courtesy of NMH)