Award-winning Taiwanese Aboriginal artist, director and playwright Pisui Ciyo will be displaying her theatre project, Her Silent Innermost, at the Your Kontinent Festival from July 19-27. Ciyo is of Atayal background, an Aboriginal tribe known for being fearless warriors and fighters hailing from southern China.
Her Silent Innermost is a sociological research film about five Atayal women who have experienced everything from Japanese colonialism to modern Taiwanese life. For a year, Ciyo conducted fieldwork research and interviews in the Msthbwan village of Ren-ai town in Nantou County, where the Atayal tribe resides. Weaving the narratives collected during her fieldwork, Ciyo’s film depicts the inherent conflict between the past and present, traditional and modern. The film explores the place of women in the Atayal tribe and the role of tradition in modern day experiences. It also delves into the infusion of contemporary and ethnic experiences of the tribe.
Ciyo belongs to a minority of Taiwanese artists who investigate topics of Aboriginal identity, politics, history, and social issues, by linking the traditional with the modern, the natural with the cultural, and remembrance with forgetting. In 2011, she was honoured as a tribal resident artist through the Council of Indigenous Peoples (Taiwan), which fuelled her interest in connecting traditional and ethnic art with contemporary art. Her film is both an anthropological study of the Atayal tribe and a personal journey into her own ancestry. She incorporates her background in Flamenco dance with Aboriginal dance and theatre.
Along with the screening of Her Silent Innermost, Ciyo has also partnered with fellow filmmaker Dana Claxton for a secret project that will be unveiled on July 26th at the Your Kontinent Festival.
I am personally intrigued, both by the artist and by her film. It’s great to see non-mainstream Asian artists make their way to Vancouver. Ciyo’s background as a Taiwanese Aboriginal and one of few artists to explore Atayal culture differentiates her from other Asian artists, and sheds an interesting light on ethnic art in Vancouver, giving a voice to minorities within the ethnic population.
Drop by Your Kontinent between July 19-27 to check out Pisui Ciyo’s film – I certainly will!