The exhibition has finished
The February 28 Incident Art Series|That Day and the Days After: The Chen Wu-jen February 28 Incident Art Series Exhibition

 Update:2020-10-10

Date:Oct 10, 2020 –Jan 10, 2021
Opening Hours:10:00 to 17:00, from Tuesday to Sunday
Closed Day: Every Monday
Advised by the Ministry of the Interior, Taiwan
Organized by the Memorial Foundation of 228, National 228 Memorial Museum

On that day, he was publicly executed in front of a crowd of citizens near the railway station.

On that day, he was taken from his home by the police and never came back.

On that day, he was shot near the port and lay motionless in a pool of blood.

In the days after, his older brother brought his brother’s body home under the cover of darkness.

In the days after, our house was searched and left in chaos many times, and we could only hide in the corner horrified.

In the days after, my mother, who was raising us two children on her own, often secretly shed tears at night.

Most of the victims who died or disappeared in the February 28 Incident were shot dead. Protesting in front of the Chief Executive’s Office, they were shot with machine guns; walking at the Port of Keelung, they were slaughtered indiscriminately; near the Chiayi railway station, they were publicly executed in front of local residents. In the moment a trigger was pulled and a bullet fired, it was as if everything was suddenly enveloped in a night of utter darkness. The families of the victims could only swallow their pain in silence and bury their agony in their hearts. In order to protect other family members and help them live their lives safely and securely, they burned victims’ photos and personal documents, trying to erase the fact that the victims had once existed. Their genuine, heart-wrenching sorrow could only be expressed through silence at home and buried in their memories of the victims as time passed, waiting for a day of reckoning.

Chen Wu-jen was born in Wanluan, Pingtung in 1949 during the period of martial law, when Taiwan was ruled by an authoritarian regime. When he was enlisted in the Zuoying Naval Recruit Training Center in 1969, he wrote the words “Opposing the central government and the Chinese Nationalist Party” on his aptitude test paper. Prosecuted for the “crime of rebellion,” he was later transferred to a military court for a trial and sentenced to two years imprisonment for having violated Article 7 of the Anti-Insurgency Law. He gave up the right to appeal the ruling and was later transferred to Taiyuan Prison. As a political prisoner, Chen Wu-jen experienced physical incarceration as well as mental and psychological trauma, and even his family members were politically oppressed. This drove him to use paintbrushes and sculpting knives to translate his misery and agony into art pieces that reminded his fellow Taiwanese they should never forget how Taiwan was ruthlessly ravaged during the February 28 Incident and the White Terror period.

In 2017, the 228 National Memorial Museum organized “Names in the Wind,” an oil painting exhibition, in cooperation with the artist. In 2020, the 228 National Memorial Museum worked with Chen Wu-jen once again to organize “That Day and the Days After: The Chen Wu-jen February 28 Incident Art Series Exhibition,” featuring ten wood sculpture works from the Slaughter series and 18 oil paintings from the Family series. His artworks re-interpret the moment when victims were shot dead in the February 28 Incident and the torment experienced by victims’ families thereafter, helping us revisit the never-ending pain that separates the history of Taiwan into that day and the days after.


Brief biography of Chen Wu-jen
  • 1949 - Chen was born in Jiahe Village, Wanluan Township, Pingtung County.
  • 1969 - Chen graduated from the Department of Arts at Tainan Teachers College. In September, he was transferred to a military court for a trial for the crime of “rebellion” after he wrote “Opposing the central government and the Chinese Nationalist Party” on his aptitude test paper at the Zuoying Naval Recruit Training Center.
  • 1970 - He was sentenced to two years imprisonment for violating Article 7 of the Anti-Insurgency Law. After giving up the right to appeal the ruling, he was transferred to Taiyuan Prison.
  • 1971 - After his release from prison, Chen first worked as an assistant at an English bookstore in Kaohsiung, and then as a tutor at a cram school in Banciao.
  • 1973 - Chen held a solo exhibition at Tainan County Social Education Center.
  • 1980 - Chen graduated from the Department of Electrical Engineering (night school program) at National Cheng Kung University.
  • 1986 - Chen held a solo exhibition at the Tainan County Cultural Center.
  • 1988 - Chen worked as an editor of the “Elementary School Art Education Teaching Guidelines” for the National Institute for Compilation and Translation.
  • 2004 - Chen retired from the role of art teacher at Tainan County’s Sinying Elementary School and started work as a full-time artist.
  • 2007 - In March, ten oil paintings from the Virtual Monsters series were exhibited at the Presidential Office Building. In April, the Council for Cultural Affairs published his oil painting collection The Memory of the White Prison – Tai Yuan. In December, a total of 24 oil paintings from the Political Prisoners series and the Virtual Monsters series were exhibited at Jingmei Human Rights Park.
  • 2008 - In January, Chen’s oil paintings from the Virtual Monsters series were exhibited at the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall. In February, the Tainan County Government published Virtual Monsters: A Collection of Chen Wu-jen’s Oil Paintings.
  • 2010 - Tongyi International Co., Ltd. published three volumes of Chen Wu-jen’s oil painting collections, Names in the Wind, Mountain, and Judgments. From May to October, “Names in the Wind Special Exhibition” was held at Green Island Human Rights Park. In December, four oil paintings from the Judgments series were exhibited at Jingmei Human Rights Park.
  • 2012 - In March, Chen’s oil painting solo exhibition “Virtual Monsters” was held at the Kaohsiung Cultural Center. In December, the Preparatory Office of the National Human Rights Museum published Chen Wu-jen’s painting collections Vanishing Family, Claws and Teeth, and Torture.
  • 2013 - In July, “Medals on the Ankles,” an oil painting exhibition, was held at the National Human Rights Museum Preparatory Office’s venue in Jingmei.
  • 2014 - In May, the construction of the Taiyuan Incident Monument was completed at the Holy Mountain of Taiwan, Caotun.
  • 2015 – “Thinking With Head,” an exhibition of wooden sculpture by Chen Wu-jen, Huang, Ming-chung and Viktor Luis, was held at the Red Brick Office of the Tsung-Yeh Arts and Cultural Center in Tainan City.
  • 2016 - In March, sponsored by the National Culture and Arts Foundation and directed by Chen Rong-sian, the documentary film Freedom Artist Chen Wu-jen finished shooting and the film was selected for inclusion in the Chiayi International Art Documentary Film Festival. In August, “An Extraterritorial Realm - Liu Chen-tan and Chen Wu-jen’s Human Rights Art Exhibition” was held at Hotel Yam in Kaohsiung.
  • 2017 - In January, “Names in the Wind,” an oil painting exhibition, was held at the National 228 Memorial Museum. In February, “Judgments,” an oil painting and wood sculpture exhibition, was held at Tainan Wu Garden. In May, “From Virtual Monsters to Judgments,” a wood sculpture exhibition, was held at the Green Island Human Rights Park. In November, “Snowstorm,” an oil painting and wood sculpture exhibition, was held at Tainan Wu Garden. Snowstorm, a collection of Chen Wu-jen’s art creations between 2012 and 2014, was published.
  • 2019 - In July, Chen Wu-jen and his wife Chen Yu-chu’s oil painting collection Good Days at the Harbors was published by Taiwan Interminds Publishing Inc.
  • 2020 - In October, “That Day and the Days After: The Chen Wu-jen February 28 Incident Art Series Exhibition” was held at the National 228 Memorial Museum.

Slaughter series
Medium: Wood sculpture
Year of creation: 2017

The Slaughter series represents the moment when civilians were shot to the ground during the February 28 Incident.

Having been ruled by the Japanese colonial regime for 50 years, Taiwanese people were already accustomed to the rigorous bureaucracy, discipline and lawfulness of Japanese colonial officials. After Japan’s defeat in the Second World War, Taiwan was taken possession of by the Chinese Nationalist Party’s soldiers and bureaucrats, who were ill-disciplined, incompetent, greedy and selfish, making their governing style diametrically opposed to that of the Japanese.

These cultural differences meant that conflicts between the Taiwanese and the Chinese newcomers were inevitable, resulting in the arrests and public executions of local gentry and elites who naively thought they would be safe as they had done nothing wrong. The Chinese Nationalist troops swarmed out of their military bases to the streets where they indiscriminately machine-gunned Taiwanese people, slaughtering innocent passersby, curious bystanders and the passionate students who were trying to maintain peace and order.


Slaughter series no.1

Wood sculpture|2017|62cm×72cm×38cm


Slaughter series no.2

Wood sculpture|2017|62cm×72cm×38cm


Slaughter series no.5

Wood sculpture|2017|62cm×72cm×38cm


Slaughter series no.6

Wood sculpture|2017|62cm×72cm×38cm


Slaughter series no.7

Wood sculpture|2017|62cm×72cm×38cm


Slaughter series no.10

Wood sculpture|2017|62cm×72cm×38cm


Slaughter series no.15

Wood sculpture|2017|62cm×72cm×38cm


Slaughter series no.17

Wood sculpture|2017|62cm×72cm×38cm


Slaughter series no.23

Wood sculpture|2017|62cm×72cm×38cm


Slaughter series no.25

Wood sculpture|2017|62cm×72cm×38cm


Family series
Medium: Oil painting
Year of creation: 2014

Behind every political prisoner locked up in prison, there was a family whose economic and emotional support had been snatched away by the government. Not only that, their forced absence even became a burden to the family. In addition to visiting and caring for their imprisoned family member from time to time, every single member of the victim’s family was also subject to close surveillance and random harassment. Although able to eat and sleep in prison, those who were incarcerated for political reasons were completely helpless to prevent their parents, partners and children being plagued by harassment and oppression from the authorities and discrimination from members of the general public, who were less sympathetic to their circumstances than afraid of the political implications that might come with supporting the prisoners. Under such an unbearable strain, it took a tremendous effort to try to simply live a normal life. Many family members of political prisoners thus experienced abnormal psychological reactions after failing to cope with sudden loss and oppressive pressure.

Untreated canvases that have not first had their background painted white are used in this series of paintings. Monochromatic paints have been scraped onto the canvases with a palette knife to express the sense of helplessness and despair of family members living in such a harsh environment.


Family series no.2:
when the train passed by

Oil paint on coarse cotton fabric|2014|112×145cm


Family series no.5
How can I survive?

Oil paint on coarse cotton fabric|2014|145×112cm


Family series no.7
Portrait of the deceased in a closet

Oil paint on coarse cotton fabric|2014|112×145cm


Family series no.8
They are coming to get me

Oil paint on coarse cotton fabric|2014|112×145cm


Family series no.11
The only thing I remember after a dementia diagnosis in old age is the ID card

Oil paint on coarse cotton fabric|2014|145×112cm


Family series no.12
Mother burned all my older brother's books

Oil paint on coarse cotton fabric|2014|112×145cm


Family series no.13
As well as madness, there was also helplessness

Oil paint on coarse cotton fabric|2014|112×145cm


Family series no.14
The house was searched and turned upside down several times

Oil paint on coarse cotton fabric|2014|145×112cm


Family series no.15
The eldest son died of chronic alcoholism and depression

Oil paint on coarse cotton fabric|2014|145×112cm


Family series no.16
Waving away the virtual intruders outside the window

Oil paint on coarse cotton fabric|2014|112×145cm


Family series no.17
Wearing straw sandals and carrying a peach tree branch as a walking stick to exact revenge

Oil paint on coarse cotton fabric|2014|145×112cm


Family series no.18
Nowhere to escape

Oil paint on coarse cotton fabric|2014|145×112cm


Family series no.19
My old dad died after coughing up blood

Oil paint on coarse cotton fabric|2014|145×112cm


Family series no.20
I haven’t done anything wrong

Oil paint on coarse cotton fabric|2014|112×145cm


Family series no.22
Identifying bodies

Oil paint on coarse cotton fabric|2014|112×145cm


Family series no.23
Raising two kids on her own

Oil paint on coarse cotton fabric|2014|112×145cm


Family series no.24
Random body searches

Oil paint on coarse cotton fabric|2014|112×145cm


Family series no.25
Some extremely violent searches

Oil paint on coarse cotton fabric|2014|145×112cm