The 9th of November we, Inga-Wiktoria and Karoline, started the journey to Kaohsiung, Taiwan. My day started with rescheduled flights due snowstorms in the North and the stress of not knowing if I would arrive in time for all the other flights. Running from gates to gates, getting lost on airports and at last ending at the right gate with a short breath was an experience. I felt lucky for being asked by Karoline and Riddu Riđđu to join her on the trip to Taiwan to attend an art festival called Pulima. Even though the day started with a rush it all ended with meeting up with Karoline in Taipei and lovely Lovenose who showed us local Taiwanese food as soon as we arrived. Splendid!
The Pulima Art festival was hosted in the southern city Kaohsiung where we spent the weekend, mostly at the Museum of fine arts. The Pulima Arts festival highlighted Indigenous artists. «Pulima” is a Paiwan word meaning creative or highly skilled people. This year’s festival theme was “O loma no adingo,” which means “Home, where the spirit dwells». The idea is to encourage young Indigenous peoples, especially artists, to have the courage to explore their own life experiences.
We got to see some fantastic pieces by young indigenous artist from Taiwan. They highlighted both storytelling and more dark matters as for example alcoholism. A very varied exhibition with a lot of feeling and nice and beautifully exhibited.
Karoline held a talk at the art forum on Sunday about Riddu Riđđu festival. She presented the aims and growth of the festival and also about all important contacts they have around the world to improve and encourage indigenous movements. All in all a very important talk which interested many people and a lot of students from the universities had attended to listen to her. She talked about how the festival wants to include youths in their cooperation. At the panel discussion this was also the biggest question from the audience; how to include and encourage youths to participate and have courage to forward culture. Karoline made a statement in her speech of the importance of youths in culture and about how to make an arena for them where they are able to present themselves. A part of this is the program The young artist of the year, where Riddu Riđđu festival highlights a young artist of the sami culture and give them a scholarship. This year the young artist was me, a visual artist who mostly works with colors and a brush. Visual arts is the media I’m most comfortable with, and also the media in which I showcased at the scholarship, but after some thought and a lot of encouraging words from Karoline she brought me up on stage to show some traditional sami yoik for the Taiwanese public.
We spent the evenings attending shows that Pulima festival hosted, it ranged from music to performances, all made and showed by indigenous artist mostly from the pacific areas. During our breaks, we got time to explore the city that showcased both art parks with dragon flying, temple visits and night markets with amazing street food.
After the ending of the festival we were invited to friends of Karoline, Yi-Zih and Su Lin. They picked us up in the city and took us to their village that mostly had people from the Hakka-tribe. They drove us around and showed the area, some more local food and also the pearl tradition of the Paiwan people. The last day in Taiwan ended with a workshop of natural fabric indigo dying, something I’ve been reading about and wanting to try for a long time. So this was an amazing opportunity. Dear Adeline was our teacher and showed fabric and techniques she had been working with and guided us through the steps of drying with indigo.
The days went by way too fast and my studies back home in Sweden called me back. Karoline on the other had got a few days extra in Taiwan and I had to take the plane home alone. But before I said goodbye to all newfound friends and Karoline to go on the train that would take me to the airport, me and Karoline had to do a must-do thing when abroad on all sami girls list: fabric shopping! So our hosts found a tailor with traditional fabric for the Hakka-tribe. And after some misunderstanding with the measuring system and a lot of laughs and pictures later both of us got some fabric for new summer inspired gákti; perfect for the next summers festivals back home in Sápmi!