Madou Sugar Industry Art Triennial, literally speaking, includes art events and festivals that rooted in Madou and are associated with sugar industry. When taking a look back at history, we may find the development of Madou has been strongly connected to sugar economy from the sugar-trading ancient port, sugar mills at early stage, industrialized sugar refineries, to the Arts and Cultural Center that has been transformed from headquarter of the old sugar corporation. All the traces unveils the changes of relations among rise and fall of sugar industry, history and culture, topographical and aquatic environment, the ecosystem of plants, and communities. The art intervention at the latter stage well demonstrates the advances from industrial manufacturing economy to cultural creation in the recent modern period of Taiwan.
Tsung-Yeh Arts and Cultural Center has coordinated 5 curators from different disciplines in 2019 Madou Sugar Industry Art Triennial. Since 2016, the team has carried out field investigations on culture and history, capturing of landscapes, interviews with the local elders, systemization of resources, and cartography. It aims to achieve 5 objectives including “ to make a record and restoration of historical buildings and spaces”, “to learn and to redefine landscape contexts”, “to investigate and to connect communal industries”, “to cultivate art education and to encourage participatory creations”, and “to discover cultural history and to reestablish new values”. 53 groups of Taiwanese and international creators have realized 60 projects which are displayed respectively in Tsung-yeh Arts and Cultural Center, the old site of Long-quan Station, the Japanese-style public dormitory in Jhong-hua Street, 10 campuses of elementary and junior high schools, and some local streets and alleys in Madou. Distinct from other art festivals, the Art Triennial involves more than just inviting artists to create works at a specific location; instead, it integrates research from different disciplines, creators and the public sector, local residents and tourists to explore the past enriched by abundant historical contexts from the perspective of the present time. Through the intervention of art creations, we shall imagine and achieve the future founded on cultural creativity and education.
When we think of Madou, the first thing comes to our mind is always pomelos. However, do we still remember the sweet smell from the fields of sugarcanes grown on the fertile soil brought along by Tseng-wen River? We keep tracing back to the memory as if we were surrounded by the tangy sea breezes from the ancient port of Daofong lagoon.
Madou, a town with natural and cultural landscapes as well as centuries of history, is just like an epitome of Taiwan in the process of its agricultural and industrial transformations. In the project of "2019 Madou Sugar Industry Art Triennial" , we have continued the historical field investigations carried out for the past three year based on the concept and approach of “cultivating art" . Following the tracks of narrow-gauge trains, we commence our explorations from Tsung-Yeh Sugar Refinery Factory to the site of the vanished Long-Chuan Station next to Tseng-wen River, and then to the Japanese dormitories in downtown Madou. Centering on the historical location of Tsung-Yeh Elementary School, the project initiates dialogues, collaborations, participatory creations among schools and local communities. It also allows the participants to think about the value of cultural landscapes so as to cultivate art in daily life then expanding to the networks in the region.
"2019 Madou Sugar Industry Art Triennial" aims to achieve 5 objectives including "to make a record and restoration of historical buildings and spaces", “to learn and to redefine landscape contexts”, “to investigate and to connect communal industries”, “to cultivate art education and to encourage participatory creations”, and “to discover cultural history and to reestablish new values”. The overall project will be realized by 53 groups of Taiwanese and international interdisciplinary creators, through whose collective efforts, a virtual map with various perspectives linking up history, plants, agriculture, landscapes, culture, and life is created based on the theme of Madou and sugar industry. We hope to build a whole new path to the future for this land.