In this workshop at AAAinA, we welcomed artist Chang En-Man, whose work Snail Paradise traces the route of the Giant African Land Snail (Achatina fulica). This snail was a farmed food source during Japan’s colonization of Taiwan. The workshop invited participants to make and savor cinavu (a traditional food of Paiwan) that is made with snails, pork, and millet. The snail tasting was followed by a discussion on Paiwan millet mythology and food culture.
Chang’s work explores how the path of the snail’s dispersal is comparable to the route of imperial expansion in the Pacific and reimagines Taiwan’s history and its relationship to global geopolitics. Since 2009, Chang has traced the migration route of the Giant African Land Snail with projects involving recipes, embroidery, maps, interviews, collaborations, and multimedia work. As Chang begins to learn indigenous Paiwan tribe recipes from her mother, this series draws inspiration from ‘cuisine’ as a medium for understanding the history of the island and tracing its relationship to the world.
Born in Taitung, Taiwanese artist Chang En-Man currently works and lives in Taipei. Utilizing the forms of moving image, photography, installation, and creative forms of self-organizing and collective projects, Chang’s practice explores how the indigenous people of Taiwan negotiate the ever-shifting socio-cultural terrain and conditions for survival in contemporary Taiwan against the backdrop of modernization and urbanization, rooted in her own experiences and heritage as a half-indigenous person. Chang has had solo exhibitions in Taipei, Vancouver, Los Angeles; and has participated in group exhibitions such as Taiwan Biennial, Istanbul Biennial, and most recently documenta-fifteen.
Alice, Nien-Pu Ko, who lives and works both in Taipei and New York, is a curator and writer on contemporary art, film, video, sound, and interdisciplinary projects. She has worked with major art institutions such as Taiwan National Art Foundation, Taipei; Tokyo Wonder Site, Tokyo; Bengal Foundation, Dhaka; Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture, Hong Kong; Hong-gah Museum, Taipei, among others. Her selected curatorial exhibitions include Flags, Transnational – Migrants and Outlaw Territories (Tokyo Wonder Site, 2016), Beyond the Borderline – Exiles from the Native Land (Howl Art Space, 2015), and Reverse Niche – Dialogue and Rebuilding at the City’s Edge (Hong-gah Museum, 2013).
This workshop is supported, in part, by Taipei Cultural Center in New York, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Ruth Foundation, and the New York State Council on the Arts. The work is presented on the occasion of the group exhibition, ‘Singing in Unison Part 8: Between Waves,’ curated by Alice Nien-Pu Ko.