Taipei Travelogue– Post-expedition

#KantaTaiwan Last few days in Taipei, usually spent printing portraits for archival, in between meetings and after work dinner at night, coming down from the mountain.

  1. my mobile darkbox makes a great portable darkroom
  2. hang dry area for prints & repair station too
  3. washing out some prints today, experimenting with some new techniques, due to limitation of equipment & resources. Keep it simple, natural light and efficient process. Prints for coming Tuesday exhibit, Selv Grass archiving and wutai's collection
  4. met up with Eden Lee Eden to check out his camera build. looking great!
  5. 李伊蟬 dinner buddy after work, sometimes brings me on her scoot! thanks for the tour! #scoottaiwan
  6. Hsiao-Ting Tsai project manager, my usual after work dinner buddy, also my scoot buddy #scoottaiwan. thanks for bringing me out of the mountain
  7. hunt for the adidas kampung taiwan version. got myself a pair. thanks for finding it luc, we crossed the city to the west to find this.
  8. Off-subject, but my kinda shoes for rural work. Looking for uniquely Taiwanese made single mould shoes. Didas Taiwan version, takda saiz! :( Besok stok baru sampai. It's called 膠鞋 Chow Share (plastic shoes)
  9. other finds, traditional biscuits and cakes, and throw out briefcase from a chinese doctor, now makes good use to carry those multiple bubble tea
  10. ximen, thanks anne for taking me out for dinner after work too! beef noodle
  11. meeting up with Hoo FanChon Shih-tung Lo and fu kuen at Shuang Lian, after work dinner meet up, met zikri later that night
  12. Hello friends :) although short our meetup, but great to catch up and be under the same roof. Till we meet again somewhere... — with Zikri Rahman and Hoo FanChon.
  13. work meeting with luc... here in local beitou with tempura (which is not fried but boiled!)
  14. my usual public transport options, involves train and the bus
  15. sometimes i take the bicycle
  16. spent the only free day I have left at the library. #NTU National Taiwan University #tiprc Taiwan Indigenous People Resource Center, reading up on localised publication of Austronesian & Formosan history & links to the region. Social studies. Too much hypotheses to digest in one day, need further studies and reflection. I will be back #Studio94tw thank you for the art residency & support for the entire research trip
  17. 與馬來西亞藝術家林猶進(Jeffrey)造訪臺灣原住民族圖書資訊中心,他這次來台灣主要是拜訪屏東的魯凱族部落。期待他下一階段與OCAC 打開-當代藝術工作站藝術家合作,進行更多Kanta Portraits計劃的原民部落踏查,並完成新的合作創作! (With Malaysian artist Jeffrey visiting the Taiwanese Book of Aboriginal Information Center, he came to Taiwan mainly to visit the Rukai tribe in Pingtung. He is looking forward to the next stage of his cooperation with OCAC Open - Artistic Workstation Artists for more original Kanta Portraits plans and the completion of new collaborative creations.)
  18. Camera screen died very early during the residency, all the digital pictures were shot blindly. Time to retire camera, need replacement, what can be more tough than a tough camera? Journal Log Camera, Canon G7xii will just oxidise and evaporate in my hands, haha!
  19. Patrons of the Arts, thank you! 
To the people I've met during the residency, who made it possible and my stay pleasant, thank you. It is my first solo exhibition! My first overseas photo expedition, and my first discourse of the deeper meaning to my work with #KantaPortraits, many first, hopefully not the last, hope to see you again soon. Till we meet again, all the best :) #studio94tw

1. mobile darkroom

2. dry print & repair area

2. dry print area

3. washing prints

4. Eden tent camera

5. 李伊蟬 dinner buddy

6. Hsiao-Ting Tsai project manager

7. adidas kampung taiwan version

8. 膠鞋 Chow Share (plastic shoes)

9. other finds

10. ximen dinner with anne

11. Hoo FanChon, Shih-tung Lo and fu kuen

12. Zikri Rahman & Hoo FanChon

13. work meeting Luc

14.  my transport

15. bicycle, youbike

16. #tiprc Taiwan Indigenous People Resource Center

17. Meetup with Rikey, Chia-Lan (Nusantara)

18. Casualty, dead screen

19. Patrons of the Arts, thank you!


Day 7– Wutai

#KantaTaiwan Day 7. journal Monday 28 May. Last day in Wutai.

  1. Portrait of the late legend of Wutai, 1, Portrait of the late legend of Wutai, we lived in his home. A great hunter, well respected man, a legend, books have been written about him.
  2. The great hall. Drekai (Rukai) people are descendants of the clouded leopard, the main pillar with the carvings of his father, he was a great craftsman too, with stag horns, testament to his hunting skills, Ceremonial Japanese swords from the colonial era, there were muskets too, perhaps from the Dutch period. Jesus, an introduced religion from the west, ingrained into the community. Lilies which is sacred and significant, Snake skin patterns, Kuomintang certificates, all amalgamation of Rukai's heritage and culture.
  3. Ah Yee, MeiHua, Luc's Aunt, an innovative entrepreneur, independent farmer, like many in her village, hardworking and resilient
  4. My backpack load, consist of my 3x5 box camera, 8x10 with processing tent, chemicals etc, making instant prints in the field, with a spare change of clothes. about 20kg.
  5. the ride down the majestic mountains, and across the only bridge that connects to the outside world.
  6. Train back to Taipei, this train takes about 5 hours back to the capital. In total it's about 12 hours door to door.
  7. back in Shilin District, Taipei, making my way up another mountain back to #studio94tw residency space. In the culture of the city / state, different sense of belonging.

In my short time there, I've learned much and experience some to ponder and reflect. On the challenges that communities face, the duality and sometimes multiple identities, in being resilient and innovative. And how important living memories are, especially in oral speaking traditions, in keeping cultural and social links between each other, with their past, to the relevance of the present, and the challenges for the future. #KantaPortraits #BeyondBorders #EdgesofMalaysia

1. The late legend of Wutai

2. Rukai's amalgamation

3. MeiHua

4. backpack load

5. Only bridge link

6. Train back

7. back in Taipei


Day 6– Wutai

#KantaTaiwan Day 6. journal Sunday 27 May.

  1. Sunday is the Sabbath. it's also the busiest day for the village as it is packed with tourist. 600+ was the count, thats more than the entire population of the village. Christianity has been here for more than a hundred years and most natives have included introduced religion & spirituality in their daily life, mixing with their traditional beliefs.
  2. Tourists walking through village.
  3. Sunday mass at the Wutai's village Presbyterian Church.
  4. First edition 2017 Bible translated to Rukai Language, Sunday Newsletter and a bookmark with my name, welcoming me.
  5. Congregation, sings church hymns in a mixture of Rukai and Mandarin.
  6. An introduction during the announcement, we were given a warm welcome and invited to lunch. Luc gets approached by many long lost relatives.
  7. Scoot diaries, heading down to visit Grandma, sending gifts and saying goodbyes. the views here are just majestic.
  8. Uselrepe, Grandma who named luc after herself. Journey home.
  9. More language classes and history with Moo Moo.
  10. Sorting out negatives, quick clean and packing up cameras.
  11. Scoot diaries with Anne Hor Fun. the mountain roads are dark and quiet at night. thanks for the lift #scoottaiwan
  12. Night ride with Aunt, Mei Hua, up the mountain to have a look at the village. Boosted up the image to get some detail in the dark.
  13. Selv Grass 安從慈 MeiHua and me, riding up the mountain on our last night here

In a remote village in the hills, visitors bring much revenue, but also much annoyance and disruption to this small community. But they are resilient and they adapt to their best ability. Spirituality is very important, as with every native communities, their connection to each other and the land they're on, be it through religion or through ritualistic ceremonies, it can be through big gestures and small ones. Social and cultural connections that bind a community together. #KantaPortraits #BeyondBorders #EdgesofMalaysia

1. Rukai Christianity

2. tourist

3.  Sunday Mass

4. Rukai bible

5.  Congregation

6. church welcome

7.  scoot with Luc

8. Uselrepe, journey home

9 language class

10. sort out negatives

11. scoot with anne

12. wutai village at night

13. riding up the mountain


Day 5– Wutai

#KantaTaiwan Day 5, journal Saturday 26 May on the southern hills of Taiwan, Wutai

  1. Conversations with Moo Moo (Grandfather in Rukai) Explaining the important significance of the head dress.
  2. The hand that caught the eagle, Palipilipi, a great hunter, and now elder of the community. Wealth of knowledge and also the humble farmer. Previously rukai language teacher, we've seen him watching athletics on TV numerous times. It must be the challenge & achievement he misses.
  3. The daily walk through the village, but this time full load with both cameras. I'm carrying the #8intrepid mobile studio kit.
  4. Walkthrough village is never just a walk. But many stopovers to find out the daily events and happenings. Here at Aunts place, given bunch of laicis and other, before being sent on our way with sometimes errands and messages to pass on. 
  5. Packed both cameras to head down Shensan, next village where the wedding is held. Between 3 of us, about 25kg load, walking the path.
  6. Native Library, beside the town hall and other gov facilities, amazed at gov effort, and to a certain degree, the community, having their own autonomy over themselves. 
  7. It's literally mountains rising from the ground. Majestic views of the valley and rolling hills, glorious skies. These southern hills seems remote, but are still accessible. 
  8. We were given ceremonial vest, in order to get access to the wedding grounds.
  9. Wedding- engagement ceremony, the village has turned out in their best. I really love their hand weaved back packs.
  10. Heard there were 4 different entourage that has come today, bearing gifts, the bride comes from the noble family, here a live 'Babui' (wild boar/ pig) on offer. 
  11. Pack hall, the ceremonies started at 630 am and ends at 5pm with a 2 hour communal dance ritual (ends early because the mosquitoes come out at 6)
  12. Bride's mother, the bride and her 2 sisters (pictured here) get carried on a 'litter' (known in Chinese as kiao) to the engagement venue through the village.
  13. Modern day steed, as the entourage make its way through the village, outriders clear the way for the procession.
  14. Communal Dance Ritual where the entire guests participate in a circular, hand-joined dance ritual, it goes on for two hours. 
  15. Setup kamra #1interchange at the end of their ceremonies, in order not to interfere with their rituals. Had an hour window to make portraits of selected guests.
  16. Important moment in the process, to let the sitter witness their own image appear, onto a physical form of a print.
  17. Spent the evening with Peresang, dinner was paid by her brother, and a lengthy portrait session. Coincidences with Peresang has turned out to be more than a blessing, we can't be more thankful for the wealth of knowledge and inspiration she has shared with us.

The community, social structure, and relationships, although simplistically projected as a tribe, but in its entirety, very complex, between generations, assimilations & associations, with duality personalities (sometimes multiple) facing the challenges of balancing identities #KantaPortraits #BeyondBorders #EdgesofMalaysia

1. Conversations with Moo Moo

2. Palipilipi, a great hunter

3. daily walk village

4. stopovers

5. Packed both cameras

6. Native Library

7. Majestic views

8. ceremonial vest

9. Wedding- engagement ceremony

10. 'Babui' (wild boar/ pig) on offer

11. Pack hall

12. Bride's entourage

13. Modern day steed

14. Communal Dance Ritual

15. Setup kamra #1interchange

16. witness their own image

17. evening with Peresang