NATION IS NOT HOME
Gieh-Wen Lin grew up in an aboriginal family in Hongye Village, Hualien, Taiwan in the 1980s. She recalled that she thought she was an Atayal when she was a child, as the Japanese used to refer to all ethnic groups with facial tattoos Atayal people during the Japanese rule and the same naming was adopted by the ruling Kuomintang administration at the time. Her father asked her to register herself as a Sedek when she was in college. Later, during a field survey for her art creation, she found out that she should actually be a Truku. That is an ethnic group of people who have been living here on their own land for thousands of years. Unfortunately, their identity was manipulated by powers and their name was changed three times in merely one hundred years. The forced change in the artist's identity is a bleeding witness to the tragedy. An involuntary change of one's identity leads to a change in self-identification and a shift in inner self. How would she cares where her nation is, if she still wonders where her home is?
During her visit to Green Island White Terror Memorial Park, the artist stared at a national flag of Taiwan on the wall and found the worn image rather beautiful. Nevertheless, for her, it was not remotely comparable to the hand weaving of her grand mother. Be it Atayal, Sidek or Truku, any of them is good at weaving. Weaving is not only a traditional craft, but also a heritage from the ancestors that has a deep cultural significance. The artist uses the flag's design as an element in creating this artwork. It is an attempt to create a humorous reconciliation to represent a relationship free from hierarchy and oppression.
A close look would reveal words concealed in the weaving work. The words that would read "No way. Must be killed." in a right order refer to what had happened to two ethnic Paiwan young men in 1960. The 20-year-oldA-Hseng Chong and 17-year-old Zheng-Nan Tseng from Jialan, Taitung, were victims of the White Terror, sentenced to seven years and three years and six months respectively.
The work is displayed on three round tables at the original site of the co-op shop. The combination of the tables and the couplet "Full of Friends; Gathering of Guests" at the entrance construct for visitors a diverse space open to imagination.