8$ is a series which occasionally highlights interesting crowdfunding projects. Every day, the 8Asians team is inundated by many worthy pitches. We are unable to highlight every one that comes our way, or even the ones we might individually support. The projects selected for 8$ are not endorsements by 8Asians. (To be considered for 8$, we highly suggest you not harass the writers or the editors of 8Asians.)
WHO: Direct Arts, a new intercultural company, dedicated to producing plays and films that explore the intersection between different cultures, founded by Victoria Linchong.
WHAT: Indiegogo project: Art for a Free Taiwan
Art for a Free Taiwan is a traveling art show that will tour 3-5 cities in the United States in tandem with promotional efforts for ALMOST HOME: TAIWAN, a documentary about Taiwan’s struggle for democracy by Victoria Linchong.
The exhibit will feature 6 to 8 posters created by artists in Taiwan and the United States in the tradition of resistance art from the Spanish Civil War, the United Farm Workers movement, and Mai 1968. The show will travel from NYC to Boston, Washington DC, San Francisco and Seattle at the end of February through March to coincide with commemorations for the 228 Massacre. Posters from the exhibit will be available for sale at the art opening, which will also feature a sneak preview of the film. While the screening will be free for people who supported the making of the film from 2008 to 2012, a limited number of tickets will be sold to offset additional expenses.
By commissioning renowned political artists to create work about Taiwan, Art for a Free Taiwan aims to raise international concern for Taiwan’s continuing struggle for democracy. We have a $3,000 grant from Taiwan Democracy Fund but this is far less than is needed to make this project happen – and beside we have to match the grant! The Taiwanese movement hasn’t yet tapped the power of art to move the public. Your contribution will help create a new platform for discussions about Taiwan’s democratic movement.
WHEN: Deadline to contribute is Monday, February 10, 2014 (11:59pm PT).
The story of Taiwan’s democracy is extraordinary and inspiring. Yet few people outside of Taiwan are aware of the bravery, passion and self-sacrifice that transformed Taiwan from a one-party state to one of the first democracies in Asia. Taiwan is in the peculiar position of being a country that is not really considered a country, of being a homegrown democracy that should be valued by the Western world, but is instead considered a nuisance and a threat to global peace. International pressure for Taiwan to unite with China rarely considers what would happen to Taiwan’s hard-won civil rights and democracy. The Taiwanese are never part of the One China debate, even though the political status of Taiwan is a central issue. It’s almost as if the Taiwanese don’t exist.
- For over 50 years, Taiwan’s identity has been subsumed or repressed. Taiwan has its own unique history and culture that deserves to be celebrated. The majority of Taiwanese people are of Chinese descent, but Taiwan is not China. If that sounds confusing, just think of it this way: the U.S. is definitely not England although we speak English in America and a good percentage of us are of English descent.
- The Taiwanese should be included in the One China debate, which is couched as a power struggle between two Chinese powers (the Nationalists and the Communists). All people should have the right of self-determination, but the Taiwanese are never considered when it comes to political jurisdiction over their own island.
- Taiwan’s freedom of speech, direct elections, and human rights need to be considered in the cry for unification with China. While unification with China may mean “cross-strait peace” for the Nationalists and the Communists, it would be a big step backward for the Taiwanese in terms of the democratic rights that they won with much tears and bloodshed.
Efforts to consolidate support for Taiwan’s democracy have largely concentrated on higher political circles. Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) has been very successful in rallying Congress to sign up for the Taiwan Congressional Caucus. It’s currently the second largest country caucus with over 150 members who receive a steady stream of current information on Taiwan. But advocacy in higher government is only one ingredient of a strong and successful movement; there needs to also be intense international concern and pressure.