Dai Bih-in

Eight years ago I met Chia Hua in Spain, and we spent a month in each other's company. At that time he was studying in the United States, and had just received a scholarship for academic achievement, to undertake an advanced program of study in Italy. For more than ten years we have only been able to keep in touch with what each other is doing through relatives. It was through such channels that I first learned of Chia Hua's outstanding achievements in the States, which made me happy for him. In the month we spent together, we discussed many issues relating to painting, global trends, culture, society and economics, but I particularly remember his thirst for information on Taiwan. Through our numerous discussions he expressed a level of sensitivity and attention to detail that clearly showed his great concern and love for the place of his birth. At the time we met, Chia Hua was busy preparing his Graduation Thesis for the Department of Architecture, but his passion for painting still burned strongly. I was especially struck by his insistence that despite being in Spain, he had to find a copy of "New York Times" each and every day, to keep up with the latest world news. We often talked at length about recent developments in global events.

Three years ago Chia Hua came face to face with a major personal challenge in his life, which pushed him from the dazzling brilliance of youthful vigor and an almost irrational characteristic towards a more reflected self. This experience forced him to reconsider his life and to start his journey anew. On seeing some of his recent works, I was reminded of the words of an elderly Zen Buddhist monk, whom I met during my year in Southern Europe. He said : "Anyone who has not collided with the point of origin in their lives will find it difficult to grasp what life is all about".Chia Hua's recent pieces run counter to his earlier works and the sort of confident emotional release these displayed, elevating them to the realm of "solemnity". On an initial viewing they appear to adopt the style of a specific school, but on closer inspection one finds that this is just the "target" of a "phenomena" in his experience. In addressing the system (target) he is struggling against, Chia Hua dexterously seeks to deconstruct it. Leaving almost no traces, what remains is a subjective situation, from which he can face the problems in this part of his life with reason and calm. In the works "Memory of a Winter", "Space" in 1996, to "Neverending Rain", "Freedom" in 1997, and "Red Shadow", "Anima" in 1998, we experience enlightenment as with Zen Buddhist morality tales, like a bolt out of the blue. Chia Hua has tried to return to his own country - Taiwan, for many years now, but things have never quite worked out as he wished. The nearest his travels have previously brought him has been Japan or Hong Kong and fleeting reunions with family members.

Today marks the first time in 15 years that he has been able to return home, and bring with him the beauty of his works to share with us all. I applaud him and greet him with open arms, as the newest member of our local art scene.



文 / 戴壁吟