Li Jinyuan sketches Taiwan

by on Wednesday, 01 July 2009 Comments
After several months going through the long and frustrating process of applications, Sichuanese painter Li Jinyuan was finally able to step onto Taiwanese soil. Retired professor at the Sichuan Normal University in Chengdu, he thought he should take advantage of his new free time and gaily accepted French painter Bendu’s invitation to discover Taiwan. Li Jinyuan arrived in Taipei on April 24th , right during the “plum rain season”. The strait’s climate is often very unstable and can affect landings and takeoffs but the North-East monsoon had already switched directions and the southern winds were preceding the Kurashio current, meaning the shoals of flying fishes would soon be able to swim up the North coast.

On arrival in Taipei, Li Jinyuan was not very familiar with the Island’s geography, so his host decided to take him on a tour of the Island. They started at Danshui wharf on the North of the capital and Jinshan township on the Northern Coast. He then embarked on a twenty day trip which led him to Nantou County in central Taiwan; to Alishan forest in Jiayi county (West Coast), before switching to the maritime East Coast - from Hualien city to Nan-Fang-Ao Port, Orchid Island, off the coast of Taidong.

Li Jinyuan brought back a considerable amount of sketches, paintings and drawings from his trip around Taiwan. With his black felt-tip pen, he would capture real-life scenes, of which he was the occasional spectator: a man reading his newspaper in a fast-food restaurant, a couple drinking their tea in silence at the terrace of a café, a fisherman repairing his net while two women next to him play with a stray dog… Sometimes, he would use pastels adding a touch of colour and animating the drawing. Li Jinyuan also experimented with felt-tip pen techniques to display the textures and the movements of the millenia-old trees of Alishan forest and Jade Mountain: here, the painter plays with the spaces left blank by the heavy black line, whilst the crooked branches and trunks seem firmly root into the emptiness beyond the page…

Whether you know Taiwan already or not, let painter Li Jinyuan be your guide through this pictorial adventure, telling you his version of Taiwan’s story.

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Cerise Phiv (張俐紫)

Former Managing Editor of


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