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Questions of Identity and Origins in the Museological Representation of Contemporary Indigenous Art in Taiwan

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image of Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas

The significant ideological and cultural role of public museums in shaping national identity is widely acknowledged. This paper focuses on the roles of Taiwan’s public art museums in generating nationalist narratives that privilege notions of cultural distinctiveness and authenticity in the visual representation of art from Taiwan. Two exhibitions of contemporary Indigenous art provide a platform for critical analysis of the impact of identity politics on the selection, display, and promotion of Taiwanese Indigenous art. Questions of artistic agency are also explored in this paper, demonstrating how Indigenous artists in Taiwan are increasingly interrogating and contesting systems of museological representation which seek to locate or “frame” Indigenous art within an Austronesian nationalist identity narrative. These exhibitions and the artists’ works and observations offer an insight into the complex and shifting interrelationship between national identity politics and the museological representation of art in Taiwan.

Affiliations: 1: Australian National University, Canberra, Australia


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