Wake The Witch // Jui-Pin Chang & Tiffany Singh Moonlight Inn // The Other Women Gallery // TAITUNG, TAIWAN 2022
Wake the Witch is a narrative of women’s liberation through objects of the domestic, repositioning craft into conceptual art contexts, where so-called “women’s work” is elevated to recognise the cultural and historical knowledge carried through the generations by womens making. This suite of work examines how societal expectations, family obligations and existing as a minority within the art world’s power structure influences how women artists create.
INDIVIDUAL LIST OF WORKS
Only One Ocean Between Us // Woks, Earth, Painted Wood, Salt, Saltwater, Sand, Tablecloths, Papercut, Twine // There Is Only One Ocean Between Us which speaks to the geographical locations of Taiwan and Aotearoas (New Zealand) connection via the Pacific Ocean. It honours the journey of the ancestors across the sea by placing large scale domestic woks, as offering bowls filled with salt, sand and sea water from the coast the indigenous people of Taiwan departed from. Archaeologists theorise that a group of brave indigenous Taiwanese ventured out into the Pacific Ocean some 4000 years ago, relying on wind, currents and the stars to steer their course to the Philippines. Their descendants continued to explore unknown waters and within 1000 years or so had reached Malaysia, Indonesia, Polynesia & Aotearoa. But for all the density & complexity of the routes within this network, each points to the Dulan Coast of Taiwan as the place of origin.
Mana Wahine // Silk, Taiwanese Flower Fabric, Hand Stitched Embroidery, Twine, Papercut, Collage // Mana Wahine honours the matriarchal societies of the Pacific. The concept of mana wahine speaks to the arrangement of tribal life, the prestige and political power held by a woman or the women of a tribe. In the culture of the Amis, the most dominant local group in the Hualien-Taitung region, the woman/mother is the sun, the light and origin of life, while the man/father is the moon. The Amis among the Taiwanese aboriginals are generally considered to be a “matrilineal society”, according to the classification of early anthropologists.
Earth Air Water // Thai Offering Bowls, Water, Ferns, Flowers, Incense, Bamboo, Candles // Earth Air Water exists as an elemental representation of the interconnectivity of all things. All five elements are represented within this work. However, water is the most predominant, as it is the Yin and most feminine. Because of this we bring attention to the role and issues women face globally as collecting water is a task that falls largely to women and girls as part of keeping house. Added up, the time spent on this chore often means girls miss school and women miss out on the chance to earn a decent living. More than 2 billion people around the world are without clean water at home. For many, the closest source of water that’s safe for cooking, drinking and hygiene is at least 30 minutes away by foot. For many, as water sources dwindle, the problem is getting worse, both in terms of having access to clean water and in terms of gender equality.
Women’s Work // Social practice Moving Image documentation with the Orchid Womens Weavers community, Dulan, Taiwan // This collaborative process maps out factors that affect women’s participation in various artistic disciplines, facilitating them to be seen and heard, thus building alliances between countries and communities to provide sustainable opportunities for women. Both Singh and Chang are committed to further gender equality and women’s empowerment by repositioning practices such as craft into contemporary, conceptual art contexts where so-called “women’s work” is elevated in the global and historical model. So art can begin to speak to audiences, providing outreach and value to women’s art practices.
The Doormat Series // upcycled doormats and commsissioned embroidery pieces from the Hmong and Pakisani refugee communities // Furthering the partnership process Singh and Chang developed in Thailand in 2019. The project aims to foster social bonds within the art world and beyond, by promoting improved well-being and economic gains for women artists. The doormat series is a play on a common domestic object to which women are commonly referred to, referencing how women artists have been treated in the male dominated art space.
The project is founded upon three core principles; empowerment, sustainability and transparency. Empowering women to be agents of change in their communities and furthering research gathered from The Taipei Artist Village residency to continue ethical and supportive exploration of the challenges faced by women today.