Literary Education of Modernist Youth-The U.S. Information Service and American Modernism in Taiwan
Modernism arose during the period from the late 19th century to the early 1900s in response to ideological shifts caused by urbanization and the rapid social changes that came in its wake. Taiwan was also involved in this momentous era when beliefs and values crossed boundaries around the world. American modernism entered Taiwan via military and economic aid during the Cold War, when the world was divided into two camps. Suppressed by martial law, the trends of post-war Taiwanese literature, art, and society were led towards modernization by American modernism.
Co-organized by the Memorial Foundation of 228 and the National Museum of Taiwan Literature, "Literary Education of Modernist Youth-The U.S. Information Service and American Modernism in Taiwan" highlights the social, literary, and artistic climate which nurtured a generation. Through books, magazines, music, paintings, and other artistic mediums, this exhibition explores how modernism shaped the worldview of the Taiwanese intellectuals, while also providing deeper insight into how modernism came to gain unique characteristics in Taiwan. This historical dialogue between the USIS and Taiwan gives a glimpse into how cultural interactions between Taiwan and the international community facilitated the individualization of Taiwanese culture and its values. Through absorbing knowledge, imitation, and innovation, modernism evolved in Taiwan and blossomed into the new independent movement known as Taiwanese modernism.
The February 28 Incident
This exhibit combines images of historical trails with traditional and digital displays, taking you through half a century of buried historical truth. It wasn't until after the democratization of Taiwan that the truth was gradually revealed.
Taiwanese indigenous peoples and 228 Incident: Returning ______
The beginning of Japanese rule over Taiwan in 1895 marks the first encounter between Indigenous Peoples in Taiwan and the modern state. A brand-new culture, along with modern education system and technology, were brought to the island by the colonizers, challenging the mindsets and traditional values of the Indigenous Peoples. During the Japanese colonial period, Indigenous communities in Taiwan were confronted with a slow erosion of economy, political independence and cultural autonomy as a result of being gradually influenced by the power of modernization. Nevertheless, they still attempted to take advantage of this impact and turn it into a driving force for their own development.
After Japan surrendered in 1945, the Chinese Nationalist government took over Taiwan. Two years later, the February 28 Incident broke out, causing chaos all over the island. The Indigenous communities either involved themselves in the incident or avoided taking sides. No matter what option they chose, it is clear that the community leaders made these decisions out of consideration for the subjectivity of their own people.
Although the Indigenous groups had survived the mass execution during the incident, their elites with clear ethnic consciousness were inevitably purged by the Chinese Nationalist government in the later White Terror period. As the case of Yapasuyong'e Yulunana (Tang Shou-jen), some were arrested and charged with inciting rebellion, while others were executed at Ankeng Execution Ground in Xindian, Taipei. It gradually became more difficult to promote ideas such as Indigenous autonomy, land restitution or rectification of Indigenous names in public under strict surveillance and social control. Moreover, the Sinicized cultural policies also led to a great loss of Indigenous languages, cultures, identities and history.
Focusing on the relationship between Indigenous communities in Taiwan and the February 28 Incident, this exhibition aims to restore the historical truth in hopes that the Indigenous Peoples will not be forgotten or eliminated from the public memories of the incident.
Scars on the Land: The Historic Sites Related to the February 28 Incident in Northern Taiwan
Second part: In the Wake of Gunshots
On March 1, some Taiwanese legislative representatives convened a committee dedicated to dealing with the contraband tobacco investigation that had resulted in bloodshed. Hoping to bring about a satisfactory resolution to the incident, the committee was reorganized into the February 28 Incident Settlement Committee on March 2, and its members held an assembly at Zhongshan Hall, to which people from various fields were invited. On March 4, the committee notified local councilors in a total of 17 Taiwanese cities and counties of the need to establish settlement committees in their own municipalities. For a while, it seemed that everyone was becoming optimistic about how the impact of the crisis was to be handled. However, just as many settlement committees at the municipal level were being set up, Chen Yi, Taiwan's chief executive, sent a telegram to Chiang Kai-shek asking if he could dispatch troops from China to his aid. On the one hand, Chen Yi asked for military reinforcements to be sent by the central government while he mobilized the existing armed forces on the island. On the other hand, he publicly declared that he would not carry out a military crackdown. His double-faced approach let the incident escalate to a point where it could not end peacefully.
Scars on the Land: The Historic Sites Related to the February 28 Incident in Northern Taiwan
Drawing upon two dimensions, the chronology of the February 28 Incident and the spatiality of the incident's development in local counties and cities, this exhibition is arranged into three parts. The first part covers the early post-war years in Taiwan, the killing associated with a contraband tobacco confiscation that took place on February 27, 1947 near Taipei's Tianma Tea House, the epicenter of the incident, and subsequent developments until the temporary introduction of martial law was declared on March 1 of the same year. The second part portrays how Taiwanese people who lived in the counties and cities to the west of Taipei and to the south of Tamsui River gathered together in meetings and discussed how to react to the ongoing situation after receiving news of the conflict in Taipei, as well as how the Nationalist government's army clamped down and conducted "village cleansing" after arriving on the island on March 8. The last part focuses on interactions between civilians and the government that occurred in the northeastern area of Taiwan to the east of Taipei as well as in Yilan and Hualien counties in eastern Taiwan, and particularly on the indiscriminate shootings and public executions perpetrated by the 21st Division of the Nationalist government's army soon after it landed at the Port of Keelung, causing significant casualties among civilians. The locations of historic sites that are included in this exhibition span several cities and counties, namely the Greater Taipei area, Keelung, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, and Miaoli, as well as Yilan and Hualien in eastern Taiwan.
The 1987 Awakening of the People:
A Photographic Exhibition Witnessing Korea’s Democratization
The historical process of Korea’s democratization in the 20th century shares many similarities with that of Taiwan, as not only were both nations previously colonized by the Japanese and subsequently ruled by military dictatorships, but their democratic development was also successfully prompted by people power in both cases.
In Taiwan, the origin of this longing was the February 28 Incident in 1947; while in Korea, it was the May 18 Gwangju Democratization Movement (also known as the Gwangju Uprising) in 1980.
In 1987, a Korean-based correspondent from a Taiwanese newspaper candidly recorded the protest scenes of the June Struggle, preserving many precious records for history. These images bring us back to scenes where blood and tears were shed and pro-democratic slogans were chanted.
We hope that the general public can come together to understand and appreciate the value of democracy and freedom through these valuable photographs.
Schools and the February 28 Incident: The Involvement of Chien Kuo High School
During its history of more than 120 years, the school witnessed the Japanese colonial period, the Taihoku Air Raid before the end of the Second World War, and the post-war rehabilitation period after the Chinese Nationalist government took control of Taiwan. It also lived through autocracy, dictatorship and the martial law period, during which time people were deprived of freedom of speech. Before the democratization of Taiwan, different generations of students and teachers from this school listened to their conscience and stood up against the injustices of the time, which unfortunately resulted in the imprisonment or execution of many. At one point, the school's principal was even detained by the Taiwan Garrison Command for several months simply for attempting to have his students released from custody. The cruel arrests, forced disappearances, torture, and executions by shooting that were inflicted on students and teachers after the outbreak of the February 28 Incident left an indelible mark not only on school itself, but also on Taiwan's democratic development in the 20th century. Only by learning more about their experiences can one understand the importance of transitional justice and the controversy over the removal of the "entrance monument," a statue of Chiang Kai-shek, behind the school's front gate.
After 228 - How the generations talk
During the period of martial law, the February 28 Incident was a taboo topic, and many Taiwanese were unable to be familiar with the history of the island. As online communities have well developed in recent years, more people have begun to turn their attention to contemporary social issues outside the formal education system. Based on historical research, the creators attempt to portray stories on this land from perspectives that vary with the rise of democracy and reflect the different perceptions of the February 28 Incident among generations. As the differences create possibilities for dialogues, we hope to gain a deeper understanding of the February 28 Incident, democracy as well as human rights.
Street Protests in Taiwan's Democratic Movements: The Unsung Heroes of the Changhua Plain
From dictatorial to democratic, Taiwan’s democracy was been hard-won through the sacrifices of brave individuals, many of whom paid with their freedom, and some, with their lives.
From the 1980s up to the first peaceful transition of power in 2000, street protests in Taiwan surged. Numerous grassroots organizations devoted themselves to advocating for democracy, despite the inherent dangers of doing so under the yoke of authoritarianism. In order to pursue democracy, freedom, and justice, they bravely challenged dictatorship. They did this despite threats from Taiwan Garrison Command and the state security forces, as well as being blocked by barbed wire and barricades when confronting the police on the ground. Oftentimes dispersed by water cannons or ruthlessly beaten by the riot police, many ended up injured or hospitalized, but still undeterred. The passion and courage of these selfless unsung heroes who helped shape Taiwan’s democratization will not be forgotten.
Teenagers, Smoke and Umbrellas: Printmaking Artworks on Hong Kong's Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement
In order to arouse more attention to Hong Kong's human rights problems as well as keep supporting its pro-democracy movement, we invite the Malaysian printmaker Tekkhean Lee to display his works on the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement.