An Aura of Cultural Style
Launched in 2011, DART Taiwan is based in Hualien, on the eastern coast of Taiwan. The non-profit, partnering with National Dong Hwa University along with the Ministry of Culture, focuses on art incubation and entrepreneurship of local folk and indigenous artisans from Taiwan. The aim is to support and create economic opportunities for artisans and their traditions.
More than 120 local artisans have been supported since DART’s launch and who have participated in training programs and mentoring services in product design, product development, marketing, and business. “Currently we are working with 24 major artisans/studios, about 113 people in total. There are 81 women and 32 men, and 72 percent are female. Most artisans are Indigenous people from local villages, and some of them are based at small tribes in the remote mountain area of the island,” said Yuh-Yao Wan, founder of DART Taiwan, and director of the DART Incubation Center.
DART Taiwan’s products are rich with the cultural aesthetics of Tawian, and come in a varieties of forms and materials including indigenous woven textiles, hand bags, glass bead accessories, jewelry made with silver and Taiwanese jade, hand-thrown pottery, and sculptures of Taiwan marble. The collections of Walking Sun present handwoven scarves, wraps, and wallets with natural dyed linen made by Atayal indigenous women from a small village in Taiwan. “Years ago the village was almost destroyed by a big earthquake, and many villagers lost their homes. A group of female weavers determined to keep the village alive and pass on the Atayal weaving tradition. They set up a community weaving studio, villagers started learning traditional weaving with consultation of village elders. Utilizing natural materials from their own village field, the weavers designed and wove the products to earn a living,” said Wan.
In the Atayal tradition, fabric is given as gifts at ceremonies and weddings; a piece of woven cloth is an important element in the lifecycle. Diamonds motifs are typical patterns for the Atayal, symbolizing ancestral blessings and guidance. People believe it's crucial to maintain the ancient value, a socio-cultural guide to integrity responsibility, courage and cultural identity. In modern society, the value is shared through the beautiful woven products.
Successes for DART include the introduction of the artisans' work to a broader international audience by exibiting their collections in trade shows such as NY NOW's Artisan Resource. From February 5-8, DART Taiwan will be will be making its debut at Artisan Resource at the Jacob Javits Convention in Manhattan and will showcase a number of collections including woven textiles, pottery, jewelry, and handbags.
For more information, visit www.dart.ndhu.edu.tw