TREASURE HOUSE // We/Women’s Boundary Narrative ~ Continuity, Flow and Convergence Taitung Art Museum, Taitung, Taiwan 2022

Jui Pin Chang / 1964 / Taiwan  / Tiffany Singh / 1978 / New Zealand
Xiang wedding quilts, Hmong textile, Amis Textile,  Flower cloth, Tablecloths, Papercut, Thread, 2 channel projection

Treasure House is a historical reference to the generational experience of making, bound to domestic and household responsibility. As embroidery and weaving are largely regarded as the birthplace of women's industry and liberation towards equality and financial independence. 

The artwork begins in 1972 when the small enterprise movement saw each household become the 'living room factory'. This childhood  experience with women-led industry became a life-changing experience for artist Jui-Pin Chang, cementing family obligation and craft-led making as lifelong components of her art career. 

The architecture of the Whare (Maori) or Mother Room (Amis) references the 5000 year DNA connections across the Pacific Ocean between the Dulan Coast and Aotearoa. Its construction speaks to the domestic offerings of Xiang embroidery, traditional folk art made by women, that carry the distinct characteristics of Chu culture. These treasured bedquilts were gifted to the artist Jui-Pin Chang to honour her marriage when she was first able to travel to mainland China (1988) with her father after Martial Law ended (1949 -1987) Politically and personally historic these quilts for the marital bed, are stitched with the traditional symbols of happiness for women.  Realist forms in hand dyed silk,  the rising phoenix, one hundred children, pine cranes and peony flowers symbolise dreams of equality in union, fertility, long life and prosperity respectively. 

Closest to the heavens, the roof of the Whare / Mother Room, depicts scenes of women's empowerment, peace and hope. Traditionally made by women, the paper-cuts are transformed into screens for the films. The films follow the artist's (Tiffany Singh) creative process and journey of motherhood as everyday life is woven together with documentation of the social practice commissions. These commissions have supported indigenous peoples of China and Taiwan by honouring localised artforms made by the Hmong and Amis people. 

The red carpet holds the space of sacred ground. Presenting offerings of sustenance through the shared foods of the Maori and Amis peoples. A work of collective sharing, the social practice outcomes ferment craft through sharing knowledge of cultural histories, local technologies paired with social practice ethics to emerge as a united narrative that nurtures the sentiment; Women's practice carries the spirit of the ancestors.  The social practice component is vital to the artwork, enabling furthered visibility within a contemporary art landscape to elevate the importance of craft. Giving value to the artform and allowing women to subsidise their families and to further stabilise the living environment for their Hmong and Amis tribes.

Made in collaboration with 哈拿·葛琉 & The Orchid Weavers Womens Tribe of Dulan;  鄭玉花, 鄭惠美, 高燕玲, 潘淑華, 林淑玲 Taiwan, 2022 & Chamaliin Hmong Women's Refugee Community of Bangkok, Thailand, 2019  & Taiwanese filmmaker Yin Qi Huang. Tiffany Singh and Jui-Pin Chang would like to acknowledge the support of Creative New Zealand and The Taiwan Women's Association for making this work possible.