Located in Jiali Dist. (District), Tainan City, Siao-Long Cultural Park has hosted over 145 artists from 26 countries since its opening in 2013. It is the most important international art village in Southern Taiwan. Siao-Long Cultural Park has continued to receive popularity among international artists in recent years. Nearly 400 applications are submitted to the artists-in-residence program each year. Many resident artists have been nominated for or won prizes in various international awards.
Art Residency Network Taiwan invited Yeh, Tse-Shan, the Director-general of the Cultural Affairs Bureau, Tainan City Government, to share the operation and artists selection process of Siao-Long Cultural Park. In addition, in the interviews with two residency alumni, Wu, Chien-Yi and Hong, Jun-Yuan, they talked about their observations during their residency. They also analyzed the specialties of Siao-Long for artists who are interested in the residency program.
Why Siao-Long Cultural Park?
Five Advantages Await the Artists!
I.Abundant cultural heritages
Four hundred years ago, the Dutch Republic made establishments in Tainan, and various countries followed its steps to Taiwan. These countries left rich and diverse cultural heritages in Tainan. The historical buildings, such as Baroque architecture, which was built during the Japanese occupation, are on the streets of the Jiali District. And the traditional U-shaped courtyard homes, "Sanheyuan" are in Zilong Vil. (Village). Nearby, there is also the Heritage Architectural Materials Vault (HAMV), preserving the remains of the historical buildings. It provides essential materials and inspiration for the artists.
Moreover, the locals in Tainan often provide assistants to the artists passionately. Former residency artist Hong, Jun-Yuan shared that he got generous help from the chief and people of Zilong Village and teachers and students of the National Beiman Senior High School to complete his artwork.
Residency artist Hong, Jun-Yuan working on his project at Zilong Village near Siao-Long Cultural Park.
Image provided by Hong, Jun-Yuan
Residency artist Hong, Jun-Yuan’s video artwork, produced during his residency at Siao-Long Cultural Park, was selected for the “60 Seconds Festival” in Copenhagen.
Image provided by Hong, Jun-Yuan
II. Spacious land and Historical buildings
Siao-Long Cultural Park was a modernized sugar refinery during the Japanese occupation. It is over a hundred years old and measures about 138,000 square meters. The old warehouses of the sugar refinery are now exhibition rooms. The indoor area ranges from 165 to 230 square meters, and the ceiling height is more than 3 meters. The large indoor spaces provide flexibility for artists. For example, video artists should show the tension and delicacy of their images. Meanwhile, some artists choose to present large installations in vast outdoor spaces.
Artist Wu, Chien-Yi made good use of the features of the warehouses. Based on the historical style of the buildings, she created responding artworks displayed on the hallway walls and glass of the warehouses. She dressed the warehouse in a different look and highlighted its unique feature.
The Baroque building near Siao-Long Cultural Park.
Image provided by Wu, Chien-Yi
Residency artist Wu, Chien-Yi’s artwork, “Meeting Place”.
Image provided by Siao-Long Cultural Park
III. Experienced administration and technical teams
After ten years of operations, the administration team of Siao-Long Cultural Park is highly experienced in assisting residency artists. They help artists from Taiwan and abroad adapt to the environment quickly. Moreover, they endeavor to accommodate the artists' needs during creation. The administration team also organizes various activities for artists. It not only opens up collaboration opportunities for artists from different disciplines but also introduces curators and gallery owners to residency artists. The team assists artists in building connections and expanding possibilities in the long run.
The artists also highly praised the technical team at Siao-Long Cultural Park. These professional technicians tailor the artists' needs by discussing the ideas with them and then assisting them in building artworks according to Siao-Long Cultural Park's space. The technical team can realize the wildest imagination of the artists with museum-quality support. To conclude, Siao-Long Cultural Park strongly supports the artists in both administration and facility resources.
IV. Production subsidies
Aside from professional technical and administrative support, the generous funding support of Siao-Long's residency program is also highly valued by the artists: a stipend of NTD 90,000 (maximum) for living expenses during the residency, and NTD100,000 for the materials of creating the artworks. These subsidies have allowed the artists to focus more on their works during the residency. Moreover, Siao-Long Cultural Park makes a documentary of each residency artist's creative process and completion. To the artists, it is not only a memento but also a complete record of their creation process at Siao-Long Cultural Park.
V. Diversity in arts and Artistic freedom
Each year, Siao-Long Cultural Park invites curators to set a theme for the residency program and curatorial direction of the following year. It will be announced online for an open call when it is confirmed.
There are judging committees and curators to review the residency applications. The applications are from various disciplines. Initially, the program focused more on visual arts, including installation art, photography, digital art and sound art, etc. In recent years, performing arts are also in the map.
Artist Wu, Chien-Yi created two art pieces for the public spaces in Siao-Long Cultural Park: the hallway and the giant glass wall separating the office and outdoor areas. Because the works are public art, the artist wanted the creation process to be transparent and open to Park's visitors. The locals could see the creation process. After the exhibition, the two artworks remain on site because they perfectly fit the buildings' nature. On the other hand, the artist could gain more experience.
Another artist Hong, Jun-Yuan shared that Siao-Long Cultural Park allows artists to create in different ways. Therefore the artists could maintain their characteristics in art making and spring from their artistic patterns. In a word, Siao-Long Cultural Park is an ideal environment for developing artwork.
More Reading：Siao-Long Cultural Park
Wu, Chien-Yi | Hong, Jun-Yuan | Siao-Long Cultural Park（Listed in the order of the stroke count of the first character/surname）
Edited by: Brix