Hongmao Harbor

Artist: Li Pan
Location: Hongmao Harbor, Taiwan, China
Year of completion: 1993
Researcher: Yi Hsun Lee

Hongmao Harbor, located between Kaohsiung Harbor and Taiwan Strait, used to be a traditional fishing town within Kaohsiung Harbor. The local residents worked mostly in fishing and aquaculture-related business. Following the completion of the second harbor in Kaohsiung, the small town’s glory years came to an end in 1967 with the imposition of a building moratorium that lasted 40 years.

In the 1990s, following a coal mine pollution accident and facing increasing unemployment and the threat of town relocation, the townspeople pulled together to help themselves and resist the relocation.

The Hongmao Culture Association was formed to protect local history and promote residential construction in ways that make the population more cohesive. The association primarily focuses on the preservation of historical literacy and images.

When the plan to relocate the village was confirmed, it was clear that this would cause destruction of both the natural environment and the social network of the village. Many villagers lost their jobs because of the relocation. Thanks to efforts on the part of both the association and the public, part of the town’s cultural capital and common memory was preserved during the relocation process.

The Fine Arts and Visual Design departments of National Kaohsiung Normal University took the opportunity to create a mosaic “village corridor,” drawing the manpower for the project from the unemployed villagers themselves and teaching them the techniques of inlay. This not only helped ease the village’s unemployment, but it also stimulated the renaissance of traditional art techniques.

In this case study, the author used public engagement to achieve the cohesion of awareness that was needed. The process evolved from the design of the mosaic inlay art to an early experimental stage. Eventually, as the project participants developed greater skill, they were then able to share their expertise with others in the region.

Support came from government sponsorship and from the professional craftsmen who successfully promoted the mosaic inlay art. The project helped reduce unemployment and improve the skills of the women of Hongmao Village. When the relocation of the village was completed in 2007, the former residents moved to different areas. However, thanks to the efforts of the Hongmao Culture Association, the local literature and history were preserved.

All copyright belongs to Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University.

Progress Agency