THE COURAGE

May 24, 2019 marks the historical event when Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. Taiwan has become a model for human rights and marital equality for other Asian countries.

As a tribute, this exhibit The Courage, presents the portraits of Chi Chia-wei, Josephine Chuen-juei Ho, Yu Mei-nu, Hsu No-sheng, Victoria Hsu and Lai Cheng-che who are important activists and have made significant contributions to LGBT rights in Taiwan.

Inspired by the research of LGBT rights in Taiwan, the poem is a narrative of the common struggle faced by the Asian LGBT community, focusing on the conflict between homosexuality and traditional Asian culture and family values. Most importantly Zhou’s message is the self-recognition of one’s identity. His wish is to eliminate the heterogeneous vision of sexual minorities and in turn, create mutual respect and equality for all.

About the artist

Tong Zhou is a Chinese-Canadian designer and artist based in Toronto.

His work blurs the division between commercial design and fine art, and often redefines traditional methods of image-making. Through a range of different media and aesthetic styles, Zhou uses his work to express his thoughts on sexuality, politics, humanity, and explore different perspectives of the relationships between people and their environments.

STUNNING VIRTUOSITY – BEATS OF HEART: PERCUSSION QUINTET

Rhythm is like a heartbeat. The heartbeat-like vibe gives percussion a sense of humanness and familiarity. Even from infancy, human instinct is to hit and strike. Perhaps, that is what makes percussion music lively and spirited.

To Ju Percussion Group, Taiwan is where their roots lie, but the world is their stage. With their passion for percussion and the performing arts, the ensemble has ventured to 33 countries and regions across the world, and has performed on more than 3,000 occasions. The first professional percussion group in Taiwan, Ju Percussion was founded in 1986 in a Taipei hot pot restaurant. It was at the time, when the ensemble’s new members stopped at a phone booth and called the receptionist at their office to ask: “Are we dreaming?” Over those 30+ years, Ju Percussion has quietly worked hard within the community, revolutionizing the way the Taiwanese public think of percussion music. With their diverse range of instruments – from Western percussion to Chinese gong-drums to Nanguan/Beiguan music – the group showcases their internationally-renowned skills at a range of grand annual performances and brand-new productions.

Due to their immense devotion to the percussion arts, Ju Percussion has spearheaded the development of contemporary percussion music in Taiwan, where more than 130,000 students are learning through the system. Moreover, the group has shaped Taiwan into one of the world’s major centers for percussion development, establishing the Taipei International Percussion Convention (TIPC). In 2009, the Artistic Director of Ju Percussion, Tzong-Ching Ju, was the recipient of a special award from the Percussive Arts Society (PAS) for his devotion to the percussion arts, and in 2016, was recognized in the PAS’ Hall of Fame – the first from Asia to be inducted.

This summer, are you ready for a thrilling performance of rhythmic mastery? Ju Percussion and their exhilarating percussion music are coming to North America, letting everyone hear their heartbeat amongst the drums!

LET’S SAVOUR TAIWAN

Behind the courageous yet warm and friendly people, and a country filled with cultural treasures, lies the stories of Taiwan. Get to know the island of Taiwan, and discover its stories, with “Let’s Savour Taiwan”!

Normally modest and unassuming, Mr. Wu is demanding and strict when it comes to making soy sauce. Insistent on using the traditional methods, his scientific approach to soy sauce experiments with the purity of water and salt, ensuring a natural taste. With a background in French cuisine, Allie Huang incorporates her love of food science to showcase Taiwanese culture, highlighting the hard work of Taiwan’s farmers. Having lived by the ocean for her entire life, Jina Tao Tsai is a senior female diver who emerges from the ocean with agar and seaweed – without any diving equipment. Turning imperfect fruits and vegetables into delicious jams and sauces, Mr. Pan works to protect the environment and prevent the labour of farmers from going to waste..

These are the stories that shape an island’s distinct cultures and cuisines. These are the stories that make Taiwan special and irreplaceable. This summer, join us, and “Let’s Savour Taiwan” together!

FRIENDSHIP KITCHEN – PETIT ÉTÉ

In an old house once occupied by the American military in Taichung, Taiwan, one can find the Vietnamese restaurant “小夏天 Petit été”. Drawing elements from the French colonial days in Vietnam, the restaurant exhibits a quality of delicacy and uniqueness. One would never guess that the background of the owner of this quaint restaurant was not always in the culinary arts, but originally in the finance industry.

That owner, Josie Chang, is an outgoing and passionate woman who exemplifies the strong traits of a Leo zodiac sign. When her customers arrive, she is masterfully preparing in the kitchen, serving plates of refreshing and finger-licking Vietnamese cuisine. While dining, her customers can listen to the stories of her travels through Vietnam, allowing them to explore Vietnam through tastes and flavours, and to see her love and affection for her friends and the people of Vietnam. It is through her restaurant, “Petit été”, that many Taiwanese have begun to learn about Vietnam!

As a lover of travelling, Josie embarked on her first trip to Vietnam because of her passion for French culture. Arriving in the city of Dalat on a summer trip to Vietnam, she learned to cook authentic Vietnamese home-cooking from local housewives. The elegance and delicacy of Vietnamese culture captivated her heart, driving her to explore, learn, and create her own style of Vietnamese cuisine – one that incorporates various elements and methods of cooking. Josie’s vivid descriptions of Vietnam, and the beauty of Vietnam reflected in her eyes generates curiosity within an individual. You cannot ignore the captivating lives of the Vietnamese people!

Are you wondering how someone – someone with a background as a white-collar worker in the Taipei finance industry – could be so deeply in love with Vietnam? TAIWANfest invites you to join Josie’s cooking class, and through her stories and food, visit the bridge of friendship she has built through food between two countries! Experience the exchanges of cultures, lifestyles, and all the kindness!

FRIENDSHIP KITCHEN – HANOI CELEBRITY CHEF

He’s already a cooking show star, but Chef Nguyen Manh Hung really is not your run-of-the-mill chef!

If one were to flip open one of his cookbooks, you might spot Chef Nguyen dashing through mountains or racing by the Vietnamese coast. You’ll see him grinning brightly as he gathers the freshest and finest ingredients directly from farmers and fishermen. Once you turn on Vietnam Television, you’ll see Chef Nguyen step-by-step slowly teaching kids to cook, or showing off his skills with a fast-paced and complex recipe. The cuisine he prepares showcases the history and traditions of his country, with authentic Vietnamese ingredients, and a refined, delicate, and contemporary touch.

If you joined in on Chef Nguyen’s cooking class – be prepared. This is a cooking class unlike any other. You’ll be whisked to the alleys of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, imagining the bustling local markets, chaotic streets, and plentiful food. Guided by Chef Nguyen, you’ll take time to appreciate the subtle textures and flavours of rice noodles, the fragrances of herbs and aromatic vegetables, and the uniqueness of local produce. When you join him in the kitchen, you’ll assemble your market-fresh ingredients – from land, sea, and air – and put together a diverse range of the endless flavours. Perhaps you’ll end the day seated on a traditional straw mat, indulging in the dishes you’ve prepared – revealing why Vietnamese culture and cuisine is unlike any other!

If you’re a foodie who loves Asian cuisines, you’ll regret missing out on this star chef’s inventive cooking class! Take this opportunity to experience Chef Nguyen’s original recipes of Hanoi and Vietnam, and get to know this brilliant chef’s visions for Vietnam’s future! You’ll meet a generation of young Vietnamese who dream of exploring the world!