My breakfast of passion fruit flavoured green tea and a few little steamed dumplings this morning was made pleasant due to the lovely sunny day without the usual smog.
I have now been in Taipei for eight weeks, mostly at the T.A.V working hard in the studio. Four large paintings and almost 120 small Travailogue works are completed. Plenty of art activity has gone on around me in various studios and outside the building the Taipei art world seems very busy and healthy.
The 17-18th April was an Open Studio event here at the Artists village. I along with the other resident artists exposed to the public the toils of our creative time. Over 600 people passed through the T.A.V all eager to see assorted and strange artists in their natural habitats. It was a pleasant weekend chatting to a lot of inquisitive people about my artistic methods and meanders. Students, Grandmas, poets, locals from the neighborhood, a philosopher and many folks involved with the Taiwanese art world wandered about the studio mostly making pleasant noises when investigating my paintings.
I have finally tried the demanding stinky tofu after being somewhat scared by the odor. I have been intrigued each time I visited a night market to see and smell all the excellent food then the evil smell of this particular tofu arrives and begins to attack your olfactory organs. I was told this food is the Chinese equivalent of very pungent smelling European cheese. It is not in fact. There is minimal taste so the tofu is served with pickled cabbage and a chili sauce. Actually a great snack with a not so great smell.
The Australian Commerce and Industry Office or pseudo embassy asked me to give some short artists talks at a few primary schools here which involved chatting to about 1000 young students about Art, artists and Australia. Tiring but interesting to see how the school system operates in Taiwan.
I also attended a function arranged by the ACIO where Colin Offord an Australasian musician spoke about his work to a select group of guests in a lovely old building now called SPOT which functions now as a film art house. The gorgeous Pao-an Taoist Temple which was built in 1765 had a festival the other week which I managed to fall into. It is the oldest temple in Taipei and to see it packed with people, fire breathing dragons, gongs, three meter high walking puppet dolls and a traditional Chinese percussion band was hugely colorful and a lot of fun. Embellished with firecrackers and food stalls it was a brilliant afternoon activity.
My Travailogue exhibition in the T.A.V gallery space is up and open to the public for the next month. The show is comprised of over 100 works completed in studio 401 here as well as some Antarctic Travailogues. My Hong Kong art dealer John Batten flew over for the opening and many people dropped in for the evening making it all good. This show is on until the 6th June. During May I also have half a dozen large Antarctic paintings from Davis station on display at the Parliament House in Canberra as part of the celebrations for the 50 years that Mawson station has been operational in Antarctica. Antarctica is hard to imagine in this city but it will not be too long before I find myself on a Russian icebreaker somewhere in the Arctic Ocean watching expanses of ice.