Exploring the Taiwanese experience

A shot from the 2018 Taiwanese Canadian Culture Festival. | Photo courtesy of the Taiwanese Canadian Cultural Society

It’s made in Taiwan…and Canada! The Taiwanese Canadian Cultural Festival celebrates Taiwanese and Canadian artists and their art, says Esther Lin.

Art is an expression and application of human creative skill and imagination and it allows others to appreciate beauty and emotional power,” says Lin, the co-chair for this year’s festival, which will run July 12–14.

The Taiwanese Canadian Cultural Festival is a platform for the outstanding talent of Taiwanese and Canadian artists across a magnitude of disciplines in a multicultural setting, Lin explains, and usually takes as its theme an aspect of Taiwanese culture.

“Art is usually a very abstract concept and we want to help make the intangible become tangible,” she says.

Talents aplenty

This year will be the second annual run of the festival, after receiving a great response last year.

“Last year was a milestone for the festival, re-booting it after about a decade of not being able to run it,” Lin explains.

Last year the festival focused on Taiwanese Aboriginal singers, taking the theme from the traditional music of the sixteen or so indigenous tribes who live in Taiwan. Such music is fairly well-known internationally thanks to the use of a traditional song from the Ami tribe to promote the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

This year, the festival theme will revolve around Taiwanese opera and orchestra performances, both of which have long traditions in Taiwan. Most Taiwanese opera is based on Taiwanese folktales, in which witches called “tiger witches” and hungry ghosts often make appearances, while the Taiwanese national orchestra is one of the leading orchestras in Asia.

The TCC Society receives dozens of applications from artists to participate in the festival. They then sort through all the applications with the aim to find the best candidates to show off different aspects of Taiwanese culture.

“There are performers requesting to perform at our festival for next year already!” Lin explains.

Past artists have included the Taiwau Ancient Ballads Troupe of Taiwu Primary School, while on the roster of this year’s festival are special performances from the Taipei First Girls High School Marching Band, Wu-Yuan Taiwanese Opera, and I-Lan Youth Orchestra.

Full Taiwanese cultural experience

The festival is organized by the Taiwanese Canadian Cultural (TCC) Society, which was founded in 1991 and creates events, such as the festival, as well as other opportunities that promote Taiwanese culture, including language and cultural classes.

“The TCC Society has devoted itself to encourage more interaction between artists in Taiwan and Canada,” says Lin.

Besides talented artists, the festival will also present different traditional Taiwanese games, food, and activities. To satisfy visitors’ inner foodies, the festival will have many food trucks, as well as tastings of Taiwanese pineapple cakes, a traditional Taiwanese dessert made with pineapple jam.

The Taiwanese Tourism Bureau will also be present at the festival to offer some free giveaways. Visitors will also have the chance to enter a draw to win a roundtrip flight from Vancouver to Taipei.

The TCC Society hopes to not only continue with an annual festival in Vancouver, but eventually expand to other cities as well, to share the talent with a larger audience.

The festival is free for admission and will take place at the Richmond Oval Olympic Riverside Plaza. For more information on the festival, please visit www.tccfestival.ca.