GEISAI TAIWAN#1 Photo Report

GEISAI TAIWAN Photo Report3/The Result of the Judge

Hello everyone. This is an update from the GEISAI Administrative Committee. The prize winners from GEISAI Taiwan have already been announced in Chinese, but you can see them for yourself here. You might be surprised to learn that the gold prize winner was a 72 year old woman named Tien Hsiu-chu.

The day after the event has seen a lot of coverage in the local media and the response has been overwhelmingly positive, with considerable attention being paid to Ms. Hsiu-chu’s win.

Here’s a portion from one of the articles.
From Major Taiwanese Newspaper

【Article Translation】
Woman in her 70’s Wins Gold Prize at GEISAI Art Festival

Organized by the artist Takashi Murakami, the first ever GEISAI Taiwan was held on the 6th (Sun) at Taipei’s Hua Shan Cultural and Creative Industry Center. With over 400 artists exhibiting, there were even some participants who made the trip from Japan and Hong Kong. Takashi Murakami, along with fellow contemporary artist Yoshitomo Nara and CasaBrutus Managing Editor Seiichi Kamei, took part in the jury which awarded the gold prize to a 72 year old woman named Tien Hsiu-chu.

Mr. Murakami commented that “most of the winners at the festivals we’ve held so far have been people in their 20’s, so it seems almost unreal that a person in their 70’s has won this time.”

Ms. Hsiu-chu surprised everyone by setting a new record for oldest recipient.

One look at the mass of people present at Hua Shan Cultural and Creative Industry Center and Mr. Murakami’s ability to draw scores of young Taiwanese artists to his events is immediately clear. The GEISAI festival was first held in Tokyo in 2002 and has served as a platform for young and emerging artists to “express themselves” and gain direct contact with buyers and other creators. Now held twice a year, it is one of the essential events on the Japanese art scene.

72 year old Ms. Hsiu-chu exhibited at the event along with her two daughters. Titled “The Beautiful Inaugural Show of An Old Woman In Her 70’s,” her exhibit showcased works created over the last two years. A native of Xinzhu Xian, Ms. Hsiu-chu traces her roots to the indigenous Taiwanese Tayal tribe. After finishing elementary school, she began studying for a lucrative career in hair styling. At age 19, she married and moved to Gaoxiong and has been working at a salon ever since. While in her 20’s, her husband was stricken with a serious illness and she was forced to come to Taipei by herself to earn money for his medical treatment. Today she lives with her daughter, an art professor, and began drawing two years ago at her daughter’s encouragement. “My mother has obvious talent but because she has worked to support her eight children and later her grand children, she has never had any time to herself. I wanted her to rest, so I recommended she start painting.”

As a result, Ms. Hsiu-chu was able to show everyone her true self.

““But still, my mother always makes excuses saying “I have to work,” so this time I entered her name without telling her,” said Ms. Hsiu-chu’s daughter Shu-Wen Cheng with a laugh. “Just before this event, she took her blood pressure pills and stayed up all night making revisions.” Juror Yoshitomo Nara says he was struck by her sincerity.

The majority of Ms. Hsiu-chu’s works were done in crayon and illustrated events from her daily life. Mr. Nara was particularly fond of an oil painting showing a 2007 family trip to China in which the entire family is captured in happy conversation. “I’d like to buy this,” he explained. “She’s put her love of her daily life into her works. They have a purity that comes can be easily felt.”

In addition to the gold prize, silver and bronze awards were also given out at GEISAI TAIWAN.

The silver prize winner was 27 year old painter Lee Chen-tao, while the bronze prize was awarded to 30 year old JOJO KAO. Mr. Lee holds a master’s degree in art from National Taiwan Normal University. Inspired by the masters of western classical realism, he uses realist technique to recreate modern day problems. At the same time, his works overflow with a sense of humor and mockery. For example, one piece entitled Lunch on A Bed shows an enormously fat man with his back to the viewer and an empty hamburger pack on his head, illustrating his limitless appetite. In another painting called “HERO” we see three superheroes, including Superman and Batman, shed of their costumes and grown old and fat.

Bronze medal winner JOJO KAO is a graduate of Shih Chien University with a degree in visual communication and design. Her works showcase a variety of personal thoughts and emotions. In her self portrait, she stares expressionless at the viewer as a red devil’s horn emerges from her head. “This painting shows my mental state in Peking last year,” she commented. “It was my first business trip abroad and I was very nervous.” Even more interesting was how she caught the attention of juror Yoshitomo Nara by laying four cigarette packs inside her booth. “This is the brand of tobacco I like and I just happened to have left the packs there. There wasn’t any special significance to it,” she says.

The works exhibited at GEISAI Taiwan caught the attention of many locals.
Here’s a look at the jury review.

  • The jurors gather around the display for gold prize winner Tien Hsiu-chu.
  • Ms. Hsiu-chu’s charming works.
  • The jurors study the works of silver prize winner Chen-tao Lee.
  • And here are the pieces by bronze prize winner JOJO KAO.
  • The jurors discuss the works in the deliberation room. Their strict review led them to return to each booth several times.
  • The prize winners celebrate the announcements at the award ceremony.
  • Including the artists’ personal awards, there were a total of 15 prizes given out.
  • A commemorative photo on the main stage with the gold prize winner.
Photo by Takehiro Segawa (AZIO)