An Inconvenient Truth


Our second collaboration with organisations in Taiwan - "An Inconvenient Truth" - explored the social and environmental issues of life on Cijin - an 8 kilometre long island off the coast of the port city of Kaohsiung. Paul Gent worked in a local school to produce a large scale version of the game Monopoly with the children based on local knowledge and worked with their drawings to paint a giant mural. Kevin Ryan worked with local residents and workers to create a series of images highlighting aspects of life on the island including a soundpiece constructed from interviews in the old fishing village area, now largely redundant. All works were exhibited at a range of venues around the island.

Curator Ming Turner describes "An Inconvenient Truth":

“This exhibition interrogates some of the complex cultural and geographical issues of Cijin, and it also examines how Cijin has been socially and economically marginalised in Taiwan. The social and economic facts of the island are not what the locals or others want to challenge, so it has become a form of inconvenient truth to be faced."

"The title of the show, "An Inconvenient Truth", is taken from the title of a documentary film, produced by Davis Guggenheim in 2006, which is related to the issue of global warming, proposed by the former US Vice President, Al Gore. Guggenheim’s documentary film also responded to the issues of environmental concern, which is the essential theme of this exhibition.”


This project also adopts the term, New Environmental Art, which aims to emphasise these ‘human’s aspects’ which have often been ignored in the realm of environmental art. Consequently, new environmentalist art interrogates not only nature (eco-environmentalism), but also what people experience in terms of the political, social and economic aspects. Furthermore, this project has adopted Cijin as the fundamental base from which to explore the ideas of new environmentalism and how this is visualised in art. The show covers various issues includes complex historical, social and economic backgrounds, the increase in the number of foreign brides, the decline of the fishing industry and owing to Kaohsiung City Government’s policy of developing tourism and industralisation, the damage caused to the natural environment and habitation.

This exhibition invited several Taiwanese and international artists to create new works that respond to the issues listed above. "An Inconvenient Truth: New Environmental Art in Cijin" exhibited artwork created with various materials and cross-disciplinary media, including videos, documentary films, multi-media installation, drawing, sound pieces and workshops with local school children.

Exhibited works deal with topics related to people and nature in Cijin, including the damaged natural environment, the ageing population, youth crime, the rapid increase in the number of foreign brides, politician-led tourism, Cijin’s previous politics and its colonial history.

Exhibition spaces include the Cijin War and Peace Museum, Cijin Shell Museum and a 700 metre wall extending from the Fong Shan Temple. The participating artists in this project are the Taiwan Studio, Exhibition and Arts Labor Union (led by Windson Hsiao), Kevin Ryan (UK), Paul Gent (UK) and four groups of artists from the National Kaohsiung Normal University Graduate Institute of Interdisciplinary Art.

The project was co-ordinated by the Taiwan Extra-Patriot Veterans Association with Ming Turner, Wu Mali, Huang Sun-Quan and Lu Ming-Te.


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