Artists and musicians yesterday expressed their condolences for the passing of former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), as well as their appreciation of his support for the arts and cultural industries.
Wang Ying-hsin (王英信), who in 1997 was invited by Lee to create a 2.2m sculpture of the then-president, said that Lee loved art and he frequented many exhibitions during his time as president to support local artists.
Lee would even visit artists’ studios, as he wanted to get to know artists and their working environments better, Wang said.
As the media followed Lee wherever he went, artists that he met would appear in newspapers, magazines or on TV, increasing not only the artist’s profile, but also that of the whole industry, he said.
Lee was dedicated in promoting Taiwanese culture, Nantou County cultural worker Liang Chih-chung (梁志忠) said, adding that his efforts influenced academia, giving rise to more studies and conferences on Taiwanese culture.
Singer Julian Lo (羅俊穎) on Thursday wrote on Facebook that “had it not been for Lee, the art and cultural scene in Taiwan today would not be the same.”
Photo: Chen Feng-li, Taipei Times
“Lee introduced the concept of art festivals when he served as mayor of Taipei and it was after he was inaugurated that city residents began to have opportunities to watch live opera performances in the city every year,” Lo wrote.
“One year, when Faust was performed, Lee assisted with the Mandarin translation of the subtitles,” he wrote. “To date, which other mayor has had such an appreciation of art and culture?”
Musician Mali Liu also appreciated Lee’s love of music.
“When I was young, it was due to Lee’s introduction of musical festivals in Taipei that I could purchase tickets for high-quality classical concerts at an affordable price, or even for free,” Liu said.
When Japanese photographer Koki Sato took part in the art exhibition “Geisai Taiwan2” in Taipei in 2010, Lee was the subject of some of his works.
Lee attended the exhibition in person, where he extended his appreciation to Sato for the opportunity “to get a feel of young people’s creativity.”
Sato took photographs of Lee making funny poses and the changing images were projected on to a white wall behind the former president.
Although slightly shy at first during the shoot, Lee quickly “loosened up” and even came up with some creative moves and angles himself, Sato said.
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