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Mayor Lai Hosts Light Up Ceremony of 2017 Yuejin Lantern Festival - The Nation’s Only Artistic Lantern Festival

 

The 2017 Yuejin Lantern Festival, Taiwan’s most romantic and beautiful artistic lantern festival, officially kicked off tonight (Jan 21) at Yanshui’s Yuejin Port. Mayor William Lai hosted the opening ceremony himself and conducted the light up ceremony with Secretary-General Lee Meng-yen, Cultural Affairs Bureau Director General Yeh Tse-shan, and all of the guests. The ceremony was followed by “Light”, a special performance by well-known theatre group Diabolo Dance Theatre. This production, which was specifically designed for Yuejingang Riverside Park, combined traditional and modern arts and marked the opening of the 39-day lantern festival. 
 
The theme of this year’s lantern festival is “Symphony of The Seasons”. Over 20 art groups from home and abroad, including France, Japan, and Taiwan, converged at Tainan’s Yanshui District and used lighting arrangements to interpret the four seasons: “the break of dawn of spring”, “the lushness of summer”, “the redness of autumn”, and “the cultivation of winter”. The beauty of the four seasons is presented via technology arts, 3D sculptures, and lighting designs. Visitors who come to the lantern festival can fully appreciate the glory of Yanshui.
 
The Mayor first welcomed all visitors from different places to the opening ceremony of 2017 Yuejin Lantern Festival held here at Yuejin Port. Mayor Lai pointed out that the biggest difference between this lantern festival and Taiwan Lantern Festival is that the latter has different guidelines and rules every year. For the Taiwan Lantern Festival, mass amounts of traditional lanterns and decorations, inspired by the Chinese zodiac animal of the year, are made to celebrate the excitement and joy of Chinese New Year. 
 
But Yuejin Lantern Festival is unique. Every year, this lantern festival held at Yuejin, which is historically the fourth largest trading area, invites well-known local and international artists and art groups to collaborate and work on light displays. The local terrain, including the lake surface and riverside scenery, are all incorporated into the artistic lantern presentations. Here, the key concept is “exquisite and detailed art”. When visitors come to Yuejin Port during the lunar new year holidays, they can not only enjoy the best lanterns and light art exhibitions, but also feel the blessings and good will and leave with lasting memories. And that is exactly what makes Yuejin Lantern Festival so unique and charming. 
 
Public Television Service Foundation Chairperson Chen Yu-xiu lauded the lantern festival as an event that inspires art trends in both Taiwan and the world, as the festival is truly inspired by art and showcases Taiwan’s brand. She said that the main characteristic which sets Yuejin Lantern Festival apart from other traditional lantern festivals in Taiwan is that this is the only lantern festival in Taiwan that invites artists from home and abroad to collaborate and create light art which incorporate local landscape and terrain characteristics. This year’s theme includes interpretations of the butterflies in spring, chrysalises in summer, red hues in autumn, and snow in winter. It is definitely worth a trip to come and enjoy the artworks that fully display the beautiful sceneries of Yuejin Port’s four seasons. 
 
Cultural Affairs Bureau Director General Yeh Tse-shan expressed that 2017 marks the sixth Yuejin Lantern Festival. This year’s festival presents a series of unprecedented highlights: the longest festival period (39 days), the largest exhibition area, the first time large landscape-type light arts are displayed, the first time lighting environment is employed to present the theme, and the first time the festival collaborated with local spaces and temples. Artistic lanterns and landscape artworks are also displayed at the water purification plant, Yanshuei Hubi Temple, Sihcao Dajhong Temple, and the water area around No. 18-2 Bridge. 
According to the Cultural Affairs Bureau, over 20 art groups and college students from home and abroad, including France, Japan, and Taiwan, participated in this year’s event. A total of nearly 50 pieces of artistic lantern artworks are presented at the festival, including 7 large themed landscape pieces, 4 pieces by international artists, and 23 pieces by college students. The main theme of this year’s festival is “Symphony of The Seasons” and includes four categories: “the break of dawn of spring”, “the lushness of summer”, “the redness of autumn”, and “the cultivation of winter”. “Prismatic Color-In the Days of Seasons” by Yi-Ting Tsai x WINNOWORK used the color fuchsia to represent “the break of dawn of spring”. Geometric forms are scattered about on the water surface, and detailed lighting designs make the thin glass planes shine with neon rainbow colors.
 
A couple of artworks used bright green hues to represent “the lushness of summer”. “Transformation of Cicada” by Kensaku Tanaka from Kyoto University of Art and Design, Japan, illustrates how cicadas struggle out of their cocoons and announce the arrival of summer. "Linings of Cloud" by Yu-Yu Art Studio is constructed by weaving bamboo strips into a wavy artwork which symbolizes the local flowing river. It represents the numerous interwoven stories in the development and history of Yanshui. "Firework" by Unison Art Association is set up near an old banyan tree located in front of a historical building. The lights are programmed as fireworks that light up the night sky of Yanshuei’s new year evenings. 
 
Yellows and oranges are the colors of “the redness of autumn”. Art pieces that fall in this category include "Falling Stream" by UxU Design Studio which utilized dynamic lighting to mimic columns of water. The liquid gently falls then splashes when it hits the ground, creating a very dynamic visual illustration of a dreamy autumn scene for visitors. Su Xiao-meng used recycled materials to make branches and leaves in the work, "Utopia". The piece leverages the local river scene and blends seamlessly into neighboring views, presenting an environment as pleasant as Utopia.
 
Artworks that belong to “the cultivation of winter” have blue and white hues. Artist Yu Wen-fu used white bamboo strips to construct "Maze of Moon", a maze shaped like the Chinese character “月” (“moon”). The intricate artwork shines with detail under natural lighting during the evenings. "Feather Lamp" by Wen-Fu Yu features a pavilion decorated with white feathers. The floating feathers and lighting designs present a dreamlike fantasy that seems like a snow scene from afar, yet also has the coziness of light feathers that surround the space. Ceramic artist Yung-Hsu Hsu hung oyster shell-shaped ceramic pieces on a wire fence to create his work, "Snowy Shells". Under the colorful lights, the piece reminds people how challenging it is for fishermen to make a living at the mercy of weather as well as the anticipation of the coming spring near the end of winter. 
 
In addition to the seasonal categories, there are also brilliant works inspired by “the seasons of the year”, such as "Keyframes" by the French artists from Groupe LAPS. The piece consists of many luminous stick-figures dancing to the music and beats in the darkness. The movements of the figures are programmed to illustrate different topics and themes. The arrangement of music and lights creates a lively presentation of action through the four seasons. 
 
For two consecutive years, the Yuejin Lantern Festival has been inviting collage students to participate in the event. The festival is also a platform on which local student design teams can exchange ideas, inspire creativity, and create wonderful art. This year the festival received 56 proposals, a total of 15 schools participated and 23 outstanding works were selected. Most of the pieces are set on the water surface, and design concepts are closely connected to local Yanshui culture and history. There are also artworks inspired by the lunar new year, the full moon on Lantern Festival, or environmental protection issues. The 2017 Yuejin Lantern Festival definitely aims to impress visitors!
There are also other programs and events at the lantern festival. During the holidays during the festival and the lunar new year holidays, Yongcheng Theater will show films and present a series of band performances. Visitors can enjoy a visual and audio feast when they come to the festival: there are music performances on holidays, blossom landscaping along Sinyi Road, the “Daffodils Sculpture Arts Exhibition” at Ciaonan Old Street Visitor Centre, and intricate paper sculptures hidden among the alleys and small lanes around Yanshui Old Street. Come visit Yanshui in Tainan and soak in the charming historical atmosphere of this portside town.