What motivates me to create this three-year artwork goes back to my visit to Louvre Palace in 2002. Struck by the visual impact of the past great masters, I commit myself to creating a giant history painting that belongs to my homeland Taiwan. Six years later, in the process of collecting historical materials, I read some data about Wushe Incident, which signifies how our past ancestors fight for their dignity and identity. I am deeply moved by these heroes, and decide to make them the subjects in my painting project.
In the years from 2008-2011, to make my work faithful to history, I collect a lot of historical materials and old pictures. Inspired by the Russian painter Ilya Repin, whose historical paintings come from his direct study of real-life figures and tribes, I also do several field trips to Ching-Liu, a historical site where live the bereaved family of the Seediq heroes. During my long-stay I study the ‘Seediq faces’ as data for my later creation and listened to the oral stories from the elder tribesmen. Standing right in front of the historical site, next to the people who share blood-tie with the historical personages, my empathy to the past heroes goes deeper. such emotional impact can not be aroused by any secondhand literary sources.
During these years I also consult with several historians, including the Seediq expert Dakis Pawan, whose explanation of the detailed personal images and backgrounds of each protagonist enables me to reshape my heroes according to their own specific personality. Ruo-Long Chiu, another distinguished Seediq expert and a comic artist, also inspires me a lot. I come to know more about the style and textures of traditional costumes, accessories, and the old weapons.
Before I finish my work, there are more than hundreds of drafts and continuous attempts which deserve no less credits. Several of them are dedicated to celebrating the 80th Anniversary of Wushe Incident in 2010, and one piece of the final work will also be donated to Wushe county.
On September 2011, I have a solo exhibition in Banqiao 435 Corner, Taipei. I want to express my gratitude to Ren-Ai district office, who gives me support and host a press conference for me.
Lastly, my most heartfelt thanks go to my friends. Thank you for your unfailing support and sound advice from day one of the project.