August 25- 27
Harbourfront Centre

Chiayi Street Scene

1. New Height Photo Studio

2. Left-side Traffic

3. Yong Li Store

4. Feng Mao Hardware Store

5. The New Landmark of Chiayi

6. Pencil Sketches

7. Pedestrian Corridors

8. Ethical Restoration

Chiayi Street Scene

The modern buildings standing in the midst of the city streets are an interesting contrast to the wooden houses and traditional storefronts nearby. The sunlight descends slowly around the building, covering the ground with a large stretch of golden brown. Bathed in the glow of the warm light, everything in the painting also reflects the gentle and lovely colors. A big tree in the foreground stretches out into a canopy, as if to provide shade for the people on the street. Close your eyes and try to walk into Chen Cheng-po’s painting, perhaps you can also touch the warmth of this land.

1. New Height Photo Studio

In 1927, photographer Fang Ching-mian, who came to Chiayi to set up his own business, bought this corner photo studio and adopted the old name of “New Height Photo Studio”. Fang Ching-mian is well known for his mountain photography, and his travels have taken him to places such as Mt. Jade, Alishan and Batongguan. His works have left a precious historical record of the natural and cultural scenes of early Taiwanese mountains. 

2. Left-side Traffic

Left-side access is a modern traffic rule introduced to Taiwan by the Japanese government. The Governor’s Office has been actively implementing this policy in the community through various means such as erecting signs in the streets, dispatching road patrols, and promoting educational advocacy in schools, but the results have been limited. After the war, Taiwan complied with the law of the Chinese National Government and changed to the right-side traffic.

3. Yong Li Store

Above the green archway of the two-story building, a sign with four three-dimensional characters reads “Yong Li Store,” a shop specializing in the sale of all kinds of metal materials and machine tools. If you can spare the time, why not visit the scenes in Chen Cheng-po’s painting at the intersection of Xingzhong Street and Zhongzheng Road in downtown Chiayi? This house is the only structure that still exists today.

4. Feng Mao Hardware Store

There is a big billboard that reads “Feng Mao Hardware Store”. Run by the famous Luo Mao-song family in Chiayi, the company expanded in the 1930s and set up a branch in Kaohsiung. In addition to trading in steel and iron construction materials and metals, the company also set up a factory in Beishewei to produce products such as asbestos chimneys and chicken wire mesh.

5. The New Landmark of Chiayi

This three-storey reinforced concrete building, completed in 1934, was the office of Feng Mau Hardware Store and was first of its kind in Chiayi. Chen Cheng-po’s street landscapes always pay attention to the results of the landscape transformation brought by modern civilization. This one-of-a-kind house is probably the main reason behind his creation of this painting.

6. Pencil Sketches

As far as we can see, Chen Cheng-po has made at least three pencil sketches of the scenes in this painting. By comparing these works, we can see that he has tried to move the point of view, use a vertical frame, or eliminate the tree on the right. What has not changed is that he remains attentive to the mountains in the background, and to the intimate interactions of the characters in the foreground.

1-SB13-097 風景速寫(107)-SB13:34.8.3

Chen Cheng-po, Landscape Sketch (107) -SB13: 34.8.3, 1934, pencil on paper, 18×12cm

7. Pedestrian Corridors

Recessed sidewalks, or tîng-á-kha in local Taiwanese dialect, are a popular architectural style in southern China and Southeast Asia. Corridors in front of the houses can provide shelter for pedestrians in high-temperature and rainy weather conditions. In the course of the modernization of Chiayi city during the period of Japanese rule, the installation of “recessed sidewalks” was also included in the government’s regulations and became a common sight in the bustling streets of the city.

8. Ethical Restoration

Just like many of Chen Cheng-po’s oil paintings, “Chiayi Street Scene” has also been restored. The paint on the ground in the lower left corner of the painting had originally fallen off in large pieces. Professor Takayasu Kijima, who oversees the project, adheres to the ethical principles of artistic restoration by adding similar and reversible paints, allowing the traces of restoration to coexist harmoniously with Chen Cheng-po’s brushstrokes.

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TAIWANfest Toronto is grateful to be held on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples, that is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. We acknowledge our privilege to be gathered here, and commit to work with and be respectful to the Indigenous peoples of this land while we engage in meaningful conversations of culture and reconciliation.