Organizers of Matsu’s new art festival call it a success

The Lienchiang county government hopes to build on the success of Matsu’s first arts biennial and is preparing to hold the next edition in the fall of next year, it said Thursday.

The festival, which kicked off on February 12 and ended on Sunday last week, showcased 39 artworks and eight projects in three exhibition spaces, with themes focusing on Matsu’s transition from highly militarized closed islands. to tourists.

Due to its proximity to China, Matsu was once a military outpost with the highest density of military tunnels in the world.

Photo: ANC

The General Association of Chinese Culture, which co-hosted the event, expressed its gratitude to the county government, curators, volunteers and cross-industry partners for their efforts to showcase the beauty of Matsu.

“We hope that the Matsu Biennale will become a flagship festival for Taiwan, attracting visitors from all over the world,” the association said.

With the evolution of space and the sustainable reuse of buildings at the heart of the works presented at the event, the organizers decided to enshrine the festival as part of a 10-year mission to document the transformation of the islands. .

The projects, spread across five of Matsu’s islands, explored how to transform former military sites into sustainable public spaces through a number of events and activities, organizers said.

All art installations were created locally by 41 creative teams.

Some of the artworks became permanent installations, with one piece at one site stored for “future educational purposes in the form of activities that would take place from time to time”, they said.

The National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra and other performing groups were also featured at the festival, they said.

More than 30,000 people attended the event, bringing record numbers of tourists to the islands, with indoor exhibits attracting more than 23,000 visitors, they said, adding that representatives from more than 10 countries were in attendance.

Lienchiang County Commissioner Liu Cheng-ying (劉增應) said the inaugural edition has increased Matsu’s visibility, and he looks forward to meeting visitors from around the world next year.

The county government will “widen participation” in future editions, allowing local artists, volunteers, travel groups, tour guides, local students and residents to participate, he said.

Since the inaugural festival was originally scheduled for last year but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the next edition of the once-every-two-year event would be held as planned in the fall of 2019. ‘next year.

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Reggie S. Williams