Discovering Culture Through Art

Katie Schulzetenberg

“The point [of the exhibition] is to engage indigenous youths to speak up without compromising their language and identity,” said art professor Darren Tasar, promoter of the Furlong art exhibit, Fogstand &&&&&&. Wen Li Chen, the founder of Fogstand Gallery and Studio and graphic design professor, explained that Fogstand started in an old house in Taiwan belonging to her great grandmother in the town of Jia-Li; the studio has been located there since 2014.

“I am half indigenous and half Taiwanese, but we weren’t allowed to learn our indigenous language. We could only speak Chinese, and there are sixteen indigenous tribes right now there,” recalled Chen.

The ongoing workshop series at the exhibition is called “Guerrilla Language,” and each workshop focuses on what Chen grew up with. “Guerrilla Language works with the local indigenous children to reconsider the importance language has on cultural identity and agency,” reads the introduction sign of Fogstand &&&&&& on the Furlong Gallery window. The overall goal is to put the significance back into the indigenous languages through art before they are lost, and that’s where the artists come in.

The showcase in the Furlong Gallery features artwork from six different artists who are from different parts of Asia. The artists are as listed: Choon-Lin Joo from Singapore, En-Man Chang from Taiwan, Jo-Mei Lee from Taiwan, Jim-Da Lin from Taiwan, Kai-Feng Chun from Singapore and Song-Yun Kim from South Korea. The artists come from a wide array of ages. “Many of the artists focus on the marginalized urban indigenous issues that are so common,” said Tasar.

The main focus of the exhibit is the rural theme. “[The] true connection between the town where this all started, Jia-Li, and Menomonie is how relatively rural [they both are],” said Tasar. “It just felt right to bring the exhibit here to Stout,” he added.

For those interested, the exhibit opened on Thursday, Sept. 21, and ends on Oct. 28. You can read about each artist and about the Guerrilla Language series, as well as view some films from the artists. Check it out at the Furlong Gallery and learn about the indigenous communities of Asia through the artists’ work.