We had the good fortune of connecting with Hsuan Chung and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Hsuan, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
“Be water, my friend.”
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Combining the knowledge I have learned in the western, I hope my art which focuses on Asian philosophy and aesthetics, will make audience more understand the eastern culture. In the Formosa Aborigines series, I try to present the uniqueness and cultural characteristics intrinsic to the aborigines. Within the frame, what the works are focused on is the aboriginal people as a whole, rather than individuals or certain figures, as the issues given rise to by historical incidents are not unique to just one group of people or just certain individuals. When I photograph the subjects, I intentionally blurred their facial features and avoid presenting their face in its entirety in the picture. Through long-exposure and simulation, I seek to break the bond of time and present the lives of the aborigines’ ancestors on this island with the images captured in the present. From their initial carefree way of life where they lived in harmony with nature, to the oppression forced upon them by their invaders, the works portray the fundamental changes in their way of life and their mental state. Unfortunately, the issues presented in the works still exist today – from the most basic matters as habitation, unemployment and education, to high suicide rate, self-doubt and the denial of one’s own cultural values. The ideas that aborigines tend to be less educated and inferior to the Han people still persist today.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
In the seven years that I stayed at the Atlanta, Georgia, one of my favorite places is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Although it is not in the Georgia, and it takes 3-4 hours to drive, it inspired me to create works. One of my series work Yugen, was taken in there and it means a lot to me. Another place that I would recommend is the Stone Mountain. The sunset there is wonderful and gives people a sense of calming.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’m very honored to have the opportunity to do it under the guidance of Michael James O’Brien, Forest McMullin and V. Elizabeth Turk, who are the professors of Savannah College of Arts and Design in Atlanta, Georgia. They helped me to organize my Formosa Aborigines series. In 2019, with the help of Lasda Takbnuaz and Jiabao Sun, I published my first fine art photography book Formosa Aborigines in Taiwan.
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