Graduation 2016 Project

Jhen Chen


Prizes: Gijs Bakker Award Nominee

Department: Information Design

The Island of Strangers

Taiwan has a torn history. After being colonised by Japan
for fifty years, the end of the second world war marked
the beginning
of the long reign by Chinese dictator Chiang
Kai Shek. Many Taiwanese struggle with their identity: do they
feel Japanese, Chinese or Taiwanese? Chen Jhen returned
to her homeland in search of a national identity, collecting old
documents, photographs and stories. One of her photo books
shows how school uniforms changed over time from a Japanese
military style to traditional Chinese costumes, to a mixture,
and finally no uniform at all.
Additionally, Jhen went in search of the former statues of
Chiang Kai Shek. From the 45,000 that have been removed,
250 found a new home in Cihu Memorial Sculpture Park in
Taoyuan. But Jhen also discovered ‘leftovers’ in old workshops,
back yards and storage depots. A series of striking pictures
capture these ‘ghosts of Chineseness’. A video made through
the eyes of fourteen statues in different locations leads to
the final conclusion: there is no such thing as one Taiwanese
identity – there are many.

Copyright Design Academy Eindhoven

Copyright: Design Academy Eindhoven
Photographs: Photo by Designer