Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Shirley in Taiwan

During my first 2 weeks in Taipei studying at National Taiwan Normal University, I find myself mainly commuting around the city with Taipei's Mass Rapid Transit System or simply known as ‘MRT’. The MRT system is a cheap, convenient and efficient way of transportation throughout Taipei and New Taipei city. It is similar to DC's metro system (albeit cleaner and more frequent trips) consisting of 97 stations and 70 miles of track. The MRT is my main mode of transportation to and fro classes, city explorations and safely back home. 

Map of Taipei’s MRT

 Another significant attribute of Taipei’s MRT is the use of each station space and passageway to support the works of local artists and the city’s creative aesthetics. In many busy stations, art works are exhibited within the station’s infrastructure to educate and aesthetically please commuters and travelers alike.

My first stop takes me to Zhongxiao Fuxing station. Two art exhibitions are displayed on either sides of the station’s passageway with one exhibition on traditional Chinese ink painting and the other mirroring a gospel oil painting exhibition by a local, deaf artist. These two art exhibitions juxtapose each other in many ways--- the traditional technique of calligraphy against the Western oil painting technique – capturing both the traditional and modern spirit of this city.

Traditional Chinese ink painting. (Zhongxiao Fuxing station, Taipei)

Traditional Chinese ink painting. (Zhongxiao Fuxing station, Taipei) 

Oil paintings by local Taiwanese artist (Zhongxiao Fuxing station, Taipei)

Me in Zhongxiao Fuxing,Taipei. Go GW Colonials!

My second MRT art exhibition stop is at the Nangang station which features the works of Taiwanese illustrator, Jimmy Liao. Liao's work comes from his best-selling illustrated book, "The Subway" with six of his pieces incorporated into the station’s entrance, exits of escalators, passageways and on platform walls. The exhibition portrays former industries in Nangang and takes the audience on a nostalgic journey either to a childlike fantasy or back to their childhood memories of living in the local community. 

Jimmy Liao's platform art exhibition in Nangang station, Taipei.

Not only does Taipei’s MRT system provide a convenient and efficient mode of transportation to take me to my Chinese class and safely back home, but the use of these public spaces to support the works of local artists is creatively ingenious. I will continue riding the MRT and exploring this beautiful city through my linguistic journey through Taiwan.

Shirley Hsieh, M.A. International Trade and Investment Policy 2015,
Sigur Center 2013 Chinese Language Fellow, 
National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan.


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  3. I am impressed with MRT, its really very convenient. I have heard much about transport system in China and would love to visit there.