Programs

Dialogue with the Netherlands

Self-Portrait of Formosa

Community Performances

SoM Jazz Band

Dank House Music & Cosmic Techno

Live To The Fullest: Daniel Lew featuring Caroline Ding

Who’s Joking? Comedy Night @ TAIWANfest

Storytelling from Taiwan

Austronesian Taiwanese Indigenous journey to the west

Flying Dance Journey

Past Controls Future

Colours and Melodies

Walking Melodies

Exhibition

Dutch in Canada

The Social Aesthetic Construction and Practice of Taiwanese Crafts

Hope Talk

Meet Chen Cheng-po / The secrets between the great painter and I

The Pluralistic Impressions and Perspectives of Legendary Koxinga

Taiwan’s First Encounter of The World

GuoYue Up Close: The story of traditional Chinese music in Taiwan

From Amsterdam to Vancouver: Dutch Settler Portraits by Irwin Oostindie

Unearthing Formosa

No one is an outsider – Dungi Sapor

Unveiling Women: Ghostly Tales from Taiwan

Unveiling the National Palace Museum: Rediscovering Cultural Marvels

Cinematic Taiwan

White Balls on Walls

ISLAND NATION-HOPING

The Hidden Transcript of Academician TS’AO

Unarchived

Riceboy Sleeps

Bookstore

Penghu Moon in the Well

A Tale of Two Mansions

Tan-Tsiu-Niu

The Handmaid’s Tale

Family Activities

Migration & Arts Workshop

Formosa Puzzle Game

DIY with Persimmon Dye

Self Portrait Activity

Featured Food

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Performance / Vendor / Sponsorship Opportunities

TAIWANfest Vancouver is grateful to be held on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam Indian Band), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish Nation), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation). We acknowledge our privilege to be gathered here, and commit to work with and be respectful to the Indigenous peoples of this land while we engage in meaningful conversations of culture and reconciliation.

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Feature Performance - No on is an outsider - home

From the Curating Team

How do the Indigenous Peoples of Canada and Taiwan bring back their traditional culture and mother tongues, how do they gradually break free from the shackles of colonial history, after so long of their culture and lifestyles being stolen and repressed? Their resilience and creativity revived their repressed culture as they sought to escape the shackles of colonialism. In a multicultural society, different generations of immigrants face complex cultural intersections, leading them to explore the concept of identity. They need to deal with the values, traditions, and customs of different cultures, and find their own place within this diverse environment. This is a journey full of challenges and opportunities. Cultural convergence brings cross-cultural exchanges while also breeding unique local characteristics.

Through various forms of artistic performances, today’s Indigenous communities are trying to preserve their unique cultures while also communicating and innovating with other cultures. Second-generation and onward immigrant Canadian musicians use sound as a medium to take on the important question of self-identity and create masterpieces. This music shows love for cultural roots and highlights the beauty of diversity. This art conveys the wisdom of the Indigenous peoples, and promotes cultural understanding and mutual respect.

From magnificently intricate Chinese orchestral music, with its timeless traditional instruments and folk songs, this series of unique music performances combines elements of traditional Chinese music, orchestral symphony, Indigenous song, and electronic music. A fascinating journey that will inspire the audience to reflect on the sharing of cultures. Witness a special soundscape that highlights the fusion and symbiosis between different musical styles and cultures. This is the charm of cultural diversity!

Community Performance VAN - handwash 03

From the Curating Team

“Am I in the wrong place? Why isn’t it Taiwanese on stage?”
“Live performances by Vietnamese musicians, stand-up comedies by Czech actors, what does this have to do with Taiwan?”
“Hong Kong people singing Cantonese songs is not Taiwanese culture, is it?”

Cross-ethnic curation has created such an “incomprehensible TAIWANfest”.

In fact, the curatorial process is like painting a self-portrait, the eyes move back and forth between the self in the mirror and the self in the painting, and sometimes the more you paint, the more confused you are. We keep asking: What is Taiwanese culture? What does our event bring as a Canadian festival?

TAIWANfest aims to make Canada’s diverse society more mature, and we aspire to create opportunities to discuss issues that we all care about with different communities and break down ethnic barriers. We actively invite other communities to dialogue with Taiwanese culture through art, and call on Taiwanese communities to echo the curatorial theme through performances.

Handwash, who used to live in Taiwan, is a new immigrant in Vancouver. He uses hip-hop to express how the Hong Kong people diaspora overseas see themselves in the diverse environment of Taiwan and Canada. This year’s comedy show features actors from Czech, Chilean, and Chinese backgrounds, recreating the everyday landscape of Canada’s wonderful mix of Eastern and Western cultures. Taiwanese violinist Tom Su echoes the stories of many self-portraits with Taiwanese folk songs.

So we ask you:
Does TAIWANfest reflect the Canada you know?
A land that truly embraces our diversity.

From the Curating Team

The currents of time have sparked interactions and exchanges across the globe. This advances the progress of civilizations, giving rise to human migration and mobility and leading to the diverse fusion of cultures. In the face of today’s multicultural Canada that emphasizes diversity as a foundational national value, where one out of every four Canadians identify as an immigrant… How do our different cultural heritages impact Canadian culture?

During the Era of Exploration, the outward travels of European nations encouraged frequent cross-sea international trade. The arrival of the West spurred on interactions among Asian countries. At the same time, on the other side of the Pacific in the Americas, similar experiences unfolded.

As a result of international trade, lifestyles in various nations gradually evolved, leaving their mark on culture and society. Seeking better lives, adapting to changing times, and the curiosity to explore the unknown led people to move to other countries. These migrants bring their own cultures and ways of life to the new land, fostering mutual learning and integration.

Post the Era of Exploration, powerful countries sought to establish colonial rule over others. Western ideologies, art, politics, and other aspects influenced the cultural development of these regions. The transition of colonial regimes, however, also gave rise to conflicts in self-identity and cultural recognition among the colonized populations. Across the world, severe cases of cultural deprivation and racial extermination occurred. These historical events continue to impact contemporary societies today.

This year’s TAIWANfest has curated a series of exhibitions exploring diverse themes, including historical narratives, ethnic migrations, craftsmanship and lifestyles, art, and self-identity. From various perspectives, it aims to delve into the profound and lasting impacts the Era of Exploration has on modern society. The festival hopes to inspire reflection and create opportunities for meaningful dialogues alongside the appreciation of the exhibited works.

How should each individual who lived in Taiwan when the Dutch landed four hundred years ago reflect upon this historical period? As the world re-examines its relationship with China, how can Canada draw upon Taiwan’s story to develop a more inclusive “Chinese-Canadian” perspective?

From the Curating Team

What drastic changes have taken place in the world since the Age of Discovery and the meeting of the East and the West? What influences did this opening of communication and migration have on the human self and social values? How are they reflected in people’s lives? And how have they accumulated and evolved in our society to this day?

This year at TAIWANfest, we look back at the significance of history and focus on those forgotten stories. Join us in diving into the positioning of the National Palace Museum, the Taiwanese diaspora of Southeast Asia during the Japanese Colonial period, the recovery of Indigenous traditional culture, and historical narratives that center Taiwan. Let’s discuss the impact of migration, war, and conflict on culture and race. Through research, dialogue, and artistic innovation, the resurgence of these topics give us lots to reflect on.

We examine the search for identity and the evolution of social values, and the challenges and opportunities born from these changes. Here we have different approaches: Looking at today’s gender equality discourse through folklore stories, reflecting on the relationship between Taiwanese craftsmanship and social aesthetics, creating a connection between the National Palace Museum and the present from a Taiwanese perspective, and driving the revival of Indigenous culture with electronic pop music. 

We care about contemporary society and respecting cultural diversity within an international dialogue. The merging of craftsmanship with nature and community, the collision of traditional Indigenous and popular culture, and the varying roles of women in different eras within literature… TAIWANfest will deeply explore how these cultural elements connect with the world.

Don’t miss out on this Hope Talk series! Discover new perspectives and continue the dialogue with us.

From the Curating Team

Who was left out?

History is not only a record of the past but also serves as an important tool for understanding ourselves and shaping our future. However, many non-mainstream events, characters, and objects have been overlooked and hidden in the torrent of time. Within the backdrop of colonialism, how can we protect Taiwan’s subjectivity? We must organize anew our pasts, and record these forgotten stories, so as to fill in the blanks of our history.

How should we cope with the impact of self-identity when facing immigrants of different cultures and languages? Their experiences and contributions should be included in our historical narratives, to further our understanding and respect of these diverse identities. These disappeared histories are not only part of our shared memory, but also a way for us to heal from past traumas and search for a common ground.

These questions drive us to reflect on the presentations of history we have access to. We must build a more holistic and inclusive historical perspective, one that incorporates marginalized stories and allows everyone to find their place and value in history. These films are not only a tribute to the past, but also an inspiration to our present and the future. Let us work together to achieve a more just and equal society.

From the Curating Team

Incessant harassment that stems from a nation’s bureaucracy and social values are often adorned with a mask of righteousness, permeating throughout a woman’s life in ways so subtle that it becomes difficult to escape. Some appeal to the interests of the collective, urging women to “think of the bigger picture.” Some are disguised as reasonable demands, blaming women for “making a fuss over nothing.” And some are seen as a matter of course, claiming to be “cultural traditions” or “biological instincts.”

In the Canadian classic, The Handmaid’s Tale, fertile women are sacrificed as tools of pregnancy for those in power to ensure the survival of humanity. In the Taiwanese new comic, Tan-Tsiu-Niu, women in Taiwan during the Qing Dynasty desperately seek ways to bear children in order to carry on the family bloodline. One is a fictional story set in a dystopian future, and the other reflects the social conditions of Taiwan a hundred years ago. However, these oppressions against women—can we say they are no longer happening at this very moment? The President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, has been mocked by her male opponents for not being a mother, implying that she cannot understand the needs of families. On the other hand, Toronto’s newly elected mayor, Olivia Chow, has been blasted with comments of “you’re too old! go back home!,” a criticism male politicians rarely face.

In 2017, the #MeToo movement spread from the United States and Canada all the way to Europe, Central and South America, and India. In May 2023, the #MeToo movement erupted in Taiwan, with many repressed victims (mostly women) speaking up. The collective strength of these voices shook Taiwanese society and those in power. This year, Taiwan Bookstore revolves around three elements: “women,” “history,” and “reflection.” The dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale and the folktale-inspired manhua Tan-Tsiu-Niu inspires contemplation of the gender-based violence that women still face in contemporary societies today. In addition, two works by Taiwanese-Canadian immigrant authors, Penghu Moon in the Well and A Tale of Two Mansions, also sheds light on the lives and thoughts of ordinary women that are often rendered invisible in history. How did they live? What did they think?

We ask: How should you and I, at this moment, stand up and create change? Staring at your self-portrait, do you see the rigidness of the frame?

From the Curating Team

Through hands-on workshops and experimental games, we gain a deeper understanding of the connection between the Era of Exploration and Taiwan’s history, culture, and ethnic migration. These activities not only enhance emotional bonds among families and friends but also allow us to foster intimacy, echoing the curious spirit of the sailors during that era who collaborated in the face of the unknown challenges. 

In the workshops, we will create paintings, complete puzzles, and play with natural dye. Wwe can all express our unique perspectives. Working together, let’s piece fragments to form complete pictures, and with the guidance of Taiwanese craft masters, let’s complete creative projects. These wonderful memories will become preserved treasures, much like the history of the Era of Exploration. These family activities not only enlighten us about ourselves but also let us collectively experience the joy of exploration and create precious shared memories.

About Taidog

The desire for conquest during the Age of Exploration drove European countries to explore unknown lands. The discovery of Formosa, now known as Taiwan, led to the colonization of the island and governance under countries such as the Netherlands, Spain, and Japan.

Under the influence of foreign cultures, Taiwanese culture underwent comprehensive changes. Food was particularly affected. New eating habits and ingredients were absorbed by the people. Food is incorporated into traditional cultural values and ways of life. In cultural exchange and interaction, food not only serves as a source of sustenance but also as an important cultural and social symbol.

This year, TAIWANfest is debuting TAIDOG: Taiwanese-style hot dogs. Catch these familiar flavours of three-cup chicken, fried pork belly, jahjan instant noodles, and Keelung’s famous “nutritious” sandwich. Taiwan and Canada are both societies that embrace cultural exchange and interaction, striving to build a diverse and open social environment together. Be sure to grab a bite of this cultural fusion!