With support by the Ministry of Culture’s Taiwan Brand Campaign, the National Museum of Taiwan Literature has launched a Taiwan literature exhibition to travel across Europe. “Sailing Onto the World Stage: Themes in Taiwan Literature” has opened in the UK, and will move on to the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. Authors from Taiwan have also been invited to give lectures, bringing Taiwan literature closer to European readers.
The first stop for the exhibition was Edinburgh, in Scotland. The opening reception was held on July 28th at 6:30pm local time, at the Edinburgh City Chambers. Director Nikky Lin of NMTL personally attended, representing Taiwan alongside Director General Chia-chang Chang of the Taipei Representative Office in the UK Edinburgh Office. Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council Cammy Day, Programme and Events Manager at the Scottish Storytelling Centre Daniel Abercrombie, Lily Wang, curator of the exhibition, Jennie Jamieson, author of the picture book Eliza Caroline Cooke, the book’s translator, Robert Redman, and Associate International Partnership Support Manager at the Church of Scotland Sandy Sneddon, and his wife, all attended this event announcing the official debut of the exhibition in Europe.
In her remarks, NMTL Director Nikky Lin said that in the year since the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, cultural exchanges between Taiwan and European countries have seen more and more concrete results. Edinburgh was chosen as the first location for the exhibition because it was a native of Edinburgh, missionary and doctor James Laidlaw Maxwell, who introduced the movable-type printing machine to Taiwan, greatly boosting Taiwan’s cultural development in the 19th century. Director Lin also expressed her hope that through the cultural flavor of Taiwan literature, English-speaking readers can get to know this country that has had a such long and deep friendship with Scotland.
Council Leader Cammy Day mentioned the delegation from Edinburgh which had visited Taiwan in March of this year, and that they and the University of Edinburgh had conducted many meaningful visits and exchanges involving music and the arts. He expressed his happiness at being able to cooperate with NMTL through this exhibition, allowing the people of both lands to connect through literature.
At the opening reception, Japanese violinist Shiki Violinist performed songs by Taiwan musician Yen Yung-neng such as “Formosa Lily”, “Taiwan Rice”, and “One Day”. Jenny Jamieson, author of the trilingual Mandarin, Hokkien, and English picture book Eliza Caroline Cooke, and Joyce Lockhart, descendant of the book’s titular character and Hugh Ritchie, performed a Taiwanese-English bilingual reading of the book, accompanied by beautiful piano music.
Jenny Jamieson, chairperson of the Scotland Taiwanese Association, also presented Council Leader Cammy Day with Meeting of Formosa Lilies and Thistles, an oil painting by Holland-based painter and curator Lily Wang. Against a shared background of hills and mountains, thistles (the national flower of Scotland) and Formosa lilies (endemic to Taiwan) are blooming in picturesque disarray across a valley, representing the profound meaning of bilateral exchanges and cooperation springing up. The Council Leader said he would hang the painting in his office, so that more guests could see the wonderful friendship that exists between Taiwan and Scotland.
This exhibition, “Sailing Onto the World Stage: Themes in Taiwan Literature” was also held at the Scottish Storytelling Centre from July 24th to July 31st, sharing English translations of Taiwan literary works discussing women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, ecology, cuisine, and other themes. The exhibition moved to the Edinburgh Central Library on August 1st, and will remain there until August 31st. For more information on exhibitions and lectures, please visit the official website of the National Museum of Taiwan Literature (https://gov.tw/RiA).
NMTL’s Taiwan literature exhibition in Europe opens in Edinburgh. (Photo provided by Lily Wang)
Director Nikky Lin of NMTL (right) presents cultural gifts to Cammy Day, City of Edinburgh Council Leader (left). (Photo provided by Lily Wang)
(From left) Director Nikky Lin of NMTL, Lily Wang, curator of this exhibition, and Daniel Abercrombie, Events Manager at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, chat happily. (Photo provided by Marco Heusdens)
Jenny Jamieson, author of trilingual picture books Eliza Caroline Cooke and Elizabeth Blackburn Christie, performs a reading to share the contributions of the two Scottish women to Taiwan, attracting many viewers. (Photo provided by Lily Wang)