August 25- 27
Harbourfront Centre

Looking towards Chiayi

1. Two Sketches

2. Place of Painting

3. Chimneys

4. Countryside

5. Feng Mao Store

6. The Broadway

Looking towards Chiayi

The green spreads out over the vast open space, and twirls on the tree trunks into feathery branches. Light yellow, emerald, murky, cheerful, and a complex mix of shades of green form a majestic suite of vibrant colors. The houses in the distance are adorned with various shades of green, like hidden gems in the painting, shimmering with a glimmer of light. The waves of green connect with the blue sky and white clouds on the horizon. Looking at the scenery of his hometown, Chen Cheng-po has unfolded his heartfelt feelings into a beautiful picture of splendor and joy.

1. Two Sketches

The two pencil sketches Chen left behind are both highly relevant to this painting. By comparing these works, we can see that in the early sketching stage, he has already noticed the factory chimneys and a building at the far end of the city street. On another note, Chen originally intended to include human figures in the foreground, but this arrangement was cancelled in his later oil painting.

2. Place of Painting

Among the two sketches, Chen Cheng-po annotated them with “Looking towards Chiayi City” and “Chiayi Park”, the former being his sketching theme and the latter his scenic location. Today, Chiayi is full of high-rise buildings and the view is often limited, but we can still imagine the scenery of Chiayi from the height of the park in the past through Chen Cheng-po’s works.

3. Chimneys

At the other end of the city, the black smoke rising from the chimneys is billowing away with the clouds in the sky, a picture of Chiayi’s modernization process. During the middle period of Japanese rule, all cities in Taiwan rapidly became industrialized. In the west of Chiayi, new factories for ice making, tile production and electric lighting companies were established. Towering chimneys appear on the city’s skyline as a result.

4. Countryside

In 1934, when Chen Cheng-po painted this landscape, the area between Chiayi Park and the city streets was still a vast farmland. According to the Chiayi Downtown Development Plan, which was published in the same era, most of the roads to the east of the Dongmen Roundabout are still under planning, while Dongmen Public School and Chiayi Agriculture and Forestry School are surrounded by large plots of farmland.

5. Feng Mao Store

The yellow walls are dotted with greenery, and this house could be the “Feng Mao Store” in Motomachi, Chiayi. In 1934, a similar green and yellow colour scheme was used in Chen Cheng-po’s Chiayi Street Scene, portraying the tallest three-storey building in the city. In this landscape with a bird’s-eye view of the city street, he deliberately highlighted this landmark.

6. The Broadway

Modern roads with utility poles along the way cut through the countryside and lead to the city streets. This is the “Broadway” (or Tōa-thong in local Taiwanese dialect) of the Japanese era, which is today’s Zhongshan Road. The “Broadway” was one of the three major roads leading eastward from the Fountain Ring in the early days of the Japanese rule, running past important institutions such as the City Hall. It is still the main traffic artery of Chiayi city.

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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.