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A hundred-plus guests attend the 2017 Taiwan Spotlight Project Conference on Multiculturality and Indigenous Cultural Writings in Taiwan

A hundred-plus guests attend the 2017 Taiwan Spotlight Project Conference on Multiculturality and Indigenous Cultural Writings in Taiwan
The Department of East Asian Studies of the University of Toronto (U of T) presented the 2017 Taiwan Spotlight Project, a two-day international conference, on October 26 and 27. Its theme was Multiculturality and Indigenous Cultural Writings in Taiwan, and invited scholars from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Canada discussed studies on multiculturalism and indigenous cultures.

The opening took place on October 26 at the Department’s Purple Lounge, attended by Catherine Y.M. Hsu, Director-General of Toronto TECO; Hana Kim, Director of the university’s East Asian Library; Dr. Chen Shen, Vice President of the Royal Ontario Museum; Prof. Vincent T. Shen, holder of the Richard Charles and Esther Yewpick Lee Chair in Chinese Thought and Culture in the Department of East Asian Studies; university faculty members and students; leaders of the Taiwanese community in Toronto; and local media representatives.

A Special Display and Talk on Atayal Culture in Taiwan was held on the first day of the conference. Two invited Atayal artists, Yuma Taru and Baunay Watan, talked about Atayal culture, giving presentations on the topics of “A Moving Book: The Art of Atayal Clothing,” and “The Trace in Disappearing: The Beauty of Atayal Facial Tattoo” respectively. Yuma provided insights into the art of Atayal clothing and she and her young daughter demonstrated how Atayal clothing is woven, using tools she had brought from Taiwan. Baunay discussed the beauty of Atayal facial tattoos and shared stunning photos he had taken, depicting Atayal culture.

On the second day, the conference was divided into the following three sessions: 1. Taiwan Indigenous Images and Objects during Japanese Colonization; 2. Multiculturality and Indigenous Studies in Canada and Taiwan, attended by Lee Maracle, a Canadian First Nations Coast Salish poet and author; and 3. a Lecture on Taiwan Indigenous Literature and Translation, presented by the keynote speaker, Professor Darryl Sterk. The panelists included scholars from National Chung Cheng University in Taiwan, Lingnan University in Hong Kong, and the University of Manitoba and the University of Toronto in Canada.

The international conference was organized by Professor Johanna Liu in the university’s Department of East Asian Studies and received support from the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of China (Taiwan), and several institutes affiliated with the university: the Department of East Asian Studies, the Cheng Yu Tung East Asian Library, the Global Taiwan Studies program at the Asian Institute at the Munk School of Global Affairs, Taiwan Academy Contact Point, and the Centre for Indigenous Studies. The conference gave Taiwanese artists an opportunity to further promote Taiwan’s indigenous cultures and arts on an international stage, adding an important chapter to the story of global multiculturalism. The conference also created a platform for ongoing exchanges in the newly emerging field of indigenous cultural studies.

Photo:Two Atayal artists display the art of Atayal weaving.