All images in this post are by Brenda Zlamany and used with permission
“888: Portraits of Taiwan” is an amazing project by American artist Brenda Zlamany, who traveled to 33 villages and cities to create 888 portraits of Taiwanese people from a diverse array of backgrounds. In addition to her watercolor sketches of each person, Brenda also photographed them with their portrait and asked them to sign it at the bottom.
I first saw “888: Portrait of Taiwan” at MOCA Taipei’s exhibition space in the Zhongshan MRT station (中山捷運站), where it runs until tomorrow. I was immediately drawn in by Brenda’s sketches and wondering about the person portrayed in each of them. The people Brenda drew live in places ranging from small Aboriginal villages to big cities like Taipei and Kaohsiung and come from a wide variety of backgrounds. One of my favorite things about the portraits were the small details captured, like the highlights in one subject’s hair or the necklace another wore. Taiwan is such a small country that I think it’s sometimes tempting to think of the people who live here as being a hegemonic mass, but “888: Portrait of Taiwan” offers a visual refutation to that idea. For more information about the relationship between Brenda and her subjects, please see my Taipei Times article. Brenda’s professional Web site is here.
I wish I’d been able to post about this exhibit earlier, but my schedule got in the way. For more timely updates about cool exhibits in Taipei City, please check out my Facebook page.