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21st Taipei Culture Award
The 21st Taipei Culture Award ceremony was held on December 14 at the Guangfu Auditorium in Taipei City’s Zhongshan Hall. The focus of this year’s ceremony was on “commitment to cultural and artistic work and those outstanding contributors with creative spirits, interdisciplinary skills, and international drive.” The winners were Assignment Theatre founder Chung Chiao, veteran musician Ayugo Huang, and the Ming Hwa Yuan Arts and Culture Group. Mr. Chung got his start as a writer before getting the attention of society and the world through “people’s theater”; Mr. Huang has, since rediscovering his original passion for music, continued to nurture it, moving countless listeners through the beauty of Taiwan’s “mountain music”; and Ming Hwa Yuan have successfully revitalized Taiwanese opera, restoring its former glory and elevating its artistry, reaching out from Taipei to the world and proving that art is the best bridge between cultures. This year’s three winners have not only dedicated much time and effort to their respective crafts, but also successfully earned the world’s attention through international cultural exchange.June and July this year respectively saw Taiwan lose beloved cultural figures Chi Po-lin and Robert Wu, and this year’s Culture Award Committee commemorated both. Mr. Wu, founder of Eslite Bookstores, was remembered for his role in making his bookstores into cultural platforms and landmarks of which Taipei could be proud; while Mr. Chi was remembered for his courage and commitment as a documentarian and photographer in recording from the sky the transformation of Taiwan’s environment, reminding the public of the need to pay attention to our land. Both Mr. Chi and Mr. Wu were commemorated with special memorial awards for their contributions to culture in Taipei.The award ceremony was also host to three performances that showcased the achievements of the award winners. The opening performance of “Mambo No. 7: The Innovative Combination of East and West” by jazz group Sizhukong was a musical tribute to the work done by the winners in keeping culture alive incorporating Taiwanese opera elements. Chang Dance Theater, meanwhile, used rhythmical variations between modern dance and music to celebrate the winners’ nourishment of the life of Taipei citizens in their performance “The Light of Hope.” Finally, Voice Travller’s “Opera of Memory: The Fantastical Power of Culture in Time and Space” combined Western gospel music with a jazz take on traditional Taiwanese opera music in a fascinating cultural fusion that celebrated the winners’ contributions to international exchange.