Local photographers showcase works at Belfast Photo Festival

Three Taiwan photographers are showcasing works and sharing insights on the nation's artistic development at the Belfast Photo Festival June 1-30 in Northern Ireland's capital city, fostering broader international awareness of Taiwan's diverse cultural landscape.

Chen Shu-chen and Lo Sheng-wen are exhibiting their collections After and White Bear, respectively, while Shen Chao-liang, an academic and former photojournalist, was invited to deliver a talk and offer one-on-one portfolio reviews.

The 2017 BPF features 11 exhibitions on the festival's theme of Sexuality and Gender as well as a number of off-theme collections, workshops and discussions. It is expected to attract more than 80,000 visitors during its monthlong run, organizers said.

One of the 11 Sexuality and Gender collections, Chen's After comprises 19 photos of theme motels in northern Taiwan, recording spaces in the establishments after their use. According to the multimedia artist and founder of U-Design Corp., the project, which spanned four years, aims to discuss the complex relationships between these heterogeneous spaces and their users as well as modern life in Taiwan.

Lo, a graduate student currently based in the Netherlands, is among 24 photographers from 13 nations to win entry to the festival in the open submissions section. His collection White Bear examines polar bears living in artificial habitats, articulating the dilemmas posed by captive animal programs.

Shen, an assistant professor at National Chengchi University in Taipei City, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology in Taipei and Tamkang University in New Taipei City, gave a talk titled Yet Another Gaze�A New Horizon For Contemporary Taiwanese Photography June 4 in Belfast's Bullitt Hotel. He introduced works from 20 Taiwan photographers and outlined the development of the nation's photography since the end of martial law in 1987.

The academic worked as a photojournalist for more than two decades and is the curator of Photo Eye, a portfolio review program under the annual contemporary art fair Youth Art Taipei. His and Chen's participation in the BPF was supported by the Ministry of Culture and the Taipei Representative Office in the U.K.

BPF Director Michael Weir said that he was impressed by the diversity of work displayed by Taiwan's young photographers after attending the Photo Eye program in Taipei in 2016. He expressed his hope that this year's BPF will strengthen awareness of the variety and creativity of Taiwan photography.

Launched in 2011 and staged biennially, the BPF exhibits works from and collaborates with more than 30 galleries, museums and public venues in Northern Ireland and overseas. For this year's event, festival organizers cooperated with the Lightbox Photo Library in Taipei to showcase 20 Taiwan photography publications.

Source: Taiwan Today