The art, community and resilience of Indonesian migrants, in the installation TAIWANfest Silaturahmi — Stir


Wu and Lan spent months immersed in the Indonesian community of Tangkáng, documenting its gatherings, festivals, and artistic and musical creations on film and in photographs, as well as handicrafts, fishing nets, and other items to bring here for installation. Together, the pieces provide a rare view of a culture that values ​​brotherhood, mutual support, and creative expression, despite economic hardship. The title, Silaturahmi, comes from the Muslim philosophy of formation supportive, friendly and family ties with others.

For Wu, who first discovered the community at a festival in southern Tangkáng in 2019, the project was an opportunity to shine a light on a more positive side of the migrant community. Indonesian fishermen number around 2,500 in the historic little port known for its bluefin tuna, sakura prawns and mullet roe. Some sleep in dormitories, and many others in boats floating in the harbor.

“If you do a Google search for migrant workers in Taiwan, you will mostly find questions about human rights and forced labor,” says Wu. part of their life; they have their own way of life and their participation in Taiwanese society is also important. “

“It’s a story of independence,” says Chen, who points out that August is the month when Indonesians celebrate their independence – a word that also means “freedom” in the Bahasa language spoken by Indonesians. “Over these few months, we’ve been very involved in working with these fishermen to make all these works of art, and we’ve talked with them, ‘How do they make this community possible? What do they think of their life there and why are they doing all these things to be free?

“It may not be a very high aesthetic art installation,” she adds, “but what we want is for the people of Vancouver, where there are a lot of migrants, to hear a story and maybe reflect on their own sense of being independent.”

When visitors enter the facility, they first step on a blue and white tarp, the kind that Indonesian fishermen sit on and gather on the streets and quays of Tangkáng.


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