Art for human rights exhibition held in Taiwan

"Inside the Outsider", an art exhibition bringing awareness about human rights issues through art, produced by curator Tsai Ping-Ju, was held at Zone Art in Taoyuan City of Taiwan from 15 to 26 December 2020. Inside the Outsider

Tibet Sun Newsroom

McLEOD GANJ, India, 13 January 2021

An art exhibition from a group of artists raising awareness about human rights issues was held in Taiwan for two weeks last month.

Titled “Inside the Outsider”, the exhibition brings awareness about human rights issues through art. The three-week event produced by curator Tsai Ping-Ju went on from 15 to 26 of December at Zone Art in Taoyuan City.

Artists whose works were displayed include Rajnish Chhanesh, Tenzin Tsetan Choklay, Tenzing Rigdol, Tsering Motup, Vichark K Achaar, Tsai Yung-Ching, and Li Kuei-Pi.

The event focused on Tibetan human rights and Taiwanese sovereignty issues.

Artists are Tibetans from the exile community in India, Indians, and Taiwanese, and also a female artist group from India, with the goal of raising their concerns about different human rights issues.

“Border” does not just refer to physical borderlines on maps. It is closely associated with the concept of nation-state, and also includes boundary lines and their surrounding areas, whereas the people within the territory is treated as one subject.

In the past, the knowledge and concepts related to nation-state have provided an important instrument for colonial expansion, and are once again emerging in Asia today. Although the movement of decolonization has successfully expelled previous colonizers, the structure of their governance has remained and is incorporated into the basis of nation for uniting civil societies, shaping the modernized ‘us’.

Gloria Anzaldua, in her interpretation of borders, argues that people cannot understand borders, nor do they possess the option to choose to study borders, precisely because they are living on borders. As people try to understand the world, the multiple and juxtaposed subjects have rendered people outsiders to themselves.

Rajnish Chhanesh uses his city, Delhi, as a starting point and traces its borders as well as how they have changed throughout past seven regimes to discuss this city that is in a constantly evolving process.

Tsering Motup grew in the region of Ladakh near India’s border. In “Address. Address” he returns to a place called “Mirror Land” in his hometown, where he connects memories of sites through physical actions and discusses the alterations of natural landscape carried out by cultural hegemonies in the name of institution and nation.

Diaspora has often taken place hand-in-hand with colonial history. Because of the global population flow, new communities comprising migrants, refugees, immigrant workers, and transnational intellectuals have gradually formed and moved across borders. However, not only have they remained connected with their original communities, they have consistently engaged in dialogues with new places and other communities as they move.

Another of Motup’s works is constituted of three wooden chests, each containing a smartphone. The audience viewed the videos played on the phones through the magnifying glasses installed in front of the wooden chests. In these videos, the artist recounts, in three languages, his experiences of moving through Ladakh, Delhi, and Bangalore.

In 2011, documentary film director Tsai Yung-Ching was invited by the White Tara Cultural Foundation in the Tibetan community in India to organize a two-month video and performance workshop for a group of Tibetan students in exile. The script of “Five Minutes” originated from the discussions between the first- and second-generation of Tibetans in exile after the performance was presented by the workshop participants in the community.

Tenzing Rigdol, in order to realize his father’s dying wish of returning to the homeland, shipped twenty tons of Tibetan soil to Dharamshala, India. The journey was filmed and produced as a documentary by director Tenzin Tsetan Choklay.

Technological tools are also an important medium for the movement, cohesion, and communication of communities. Li Kuei-Pi’s project records the footprints of stateless people as they travel across national borders.

The artist creates a fictitious transnational travel agency called “TransBorder,” and utilizes fake postcards to restore the informal economic network produced by the movement of those who are stateless. Mahila Zine was founded in 2018. The term “mahila” means “woman” in Hindi. Issued by artist collective “Vichark K Achaar,” the publication collects and reveals diverse voices of women around the art group.

“Inside the Outsider”, through discussing borders, attempts to re-explore the possibility of achieving reconciliation with the broken self in modern society.

The Students for a Free Tibet-Taiwan, Zone Art, Taiwan Friends of Tibet, Niv Art, and Cultural Society supported the event, which is sponsored by Taiwan Foundation for Democracy.

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