The third Taiwan Festival — Macau opens today. Taiwanese writer Lolita Hu, who is the event’s director, tells mART how the initiative aims to bring people together and highlight the creativity of the new generations.

By Sofia Jesus

It will be a feast of literary illustration, cinema and music. The third edition of the Taiwan Festival — Macau opens today and aims to showcase the “creative force of the younger generation,” as the event’s director, writer Lolita Hu, tells mART.

Today’s youths have a living experience that differs much from older generations, she says. In addition to the impact of the Internet — “a breaking point,” as she calls it — young people nowadays travel more and more, being more exposed to different realities. Some of them bring back home the inspiration they gathered from those experiences.

“Culture is something you live through,” says Ms Hu. Although the Macau audience is quite familiar with the Taiwanese culture, she hopes the festival can “open a window” for people to discover more about it and, more importantly, to “get together”. After all, culture, she says, is a way for people to communicate, to “feel you are not alone”.

Ms Hu is the head of Taiwan’s Kwang Hwa Information and Culture Centre, based in Hong Kong. The centre, she explains, has been organising a kind of a “Taiwan month” in Hong Kong for the past ten years. Following the success of the initiative in the neighbouring region, the centre has decided to create a special edition of the event for Macau, which is now in its third year.

“Macau and Taiwan are quite close too,” Ms Hu says, recalling that many young people from Macau choose to go to Taiwan to pursue their higher education studies, and many Taiwanese people move to Macau to live and develop their businesses.

“Cultural connection is a bit like water in the ground,” Ms Hu tells mART. “We share similar feelings and values.”

This year’s edition of Taiwan Festival — Macau focuses mainly in three parts — illustration, cinema and music — under the theme “Floral Times,” in an allusion to the blossoming creativity of youths, as Ms Hu explains.

The festival opens today, at 6 pm, with a performance by Min-Chin Kuo, Yen-Po Chen and Liang-Pei Yen, at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Memorial House.

Tomorrow, Friday, marks the opening of an exhibition of Taiwanese picture books called We All Love Picture Books, at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Memorial House. The theme of picture books will also be highlighted in the festival through a number of workshops and talks, as well as by the War and Peace Picture Book Concert, by Yen Po-Chen (musician) and Liang-pei Yen (performer), scheduled to April 9, 5 pm, at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Memorial House.

“[This illustration section] is about the imagination of the younger generation,” Ms Hu says. Many people associate picture books to children, but the festival aims to emphasise that such illustrations can also be appreciated by adults, she says.

Between April 13 and 16, the festival presents the Golden Horse Film Awards Focus Screening, at Teatro Clementina Leitão Ho Brito. Crash, by Macau director Hong Heng Fai, is one of the films featured — on April 13, from 7.30 pm. The director will hold a talk after the screening. He was the first director of Macau to be nominated to the Golden Horse Film Awards, Ms Hu points out.

The festival’s cinema cycle — with subtitles in Chinese and English — addresses the way today’s young people deal with their lives and the challenges they need to overcome, Ms Hu explains. The slow pace of economic development in Taiwan has contributed to create “a more friendly environment” to the development of creativity, she argues. Taiwan, she adds, offers “a good environment” for young people to create and explore their talent, regardless of their nationality.

On April 16, also at Teatro Clementina Leitão Ho Brito, there will be a performance by Suming, scheduled to 8.45 pm. According to Ms Hu, Suming is a “multi-talented” aboriginal artist that offers a “good example” of how aboriginal culture is “still alive” and can be passed on from generation to generation.

The festival also features the Easter concert Mass, by the Taipei Philarmonic Chorus, which will be performing on April 15 and 16, 8 pm, at Teatro Clementina Leitão Ho Brito.

The Taiwan Festival — Macau will last until April 17. The detailed programme can be found here.