0402_(Translation Practice) Bilingual Arts: Chen Chin’s The Women of Sandimen Area

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Apr 2, 2018 16:16 translation TC-to-EN
This is a practice Chinese-English translation.
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Source (text in the original language):

In 1934, Chen Chin (1907 - 1998), known as one of the three young Taiwanese selected to exhibit at the Taiwan Art Exhibition (Taiten) during the Japanese colonial period, was offered a teaching position at the Takao (Kaohsiung) Prefecture Heito High School for Girls (present day Pingtung Girls’ Senior High School), becoming the first Taiwanese female teacher to teach at a high school in that era.

There were frequent trade activities with aboriginal people around the school. Their outfits and appearances, which were very distinct from people from the local area, drew her attention. Therefore, she often went to the Paiwan Aboriginal area of Sandimen to paint when she wasn’t teaching.

With materials collected during her painting, she painted a draft, and then in 1936, she loaned out the space of Tokyo’s Kanei-ji Temple in Japan to complete her final work, which was very large, named “The Women of Sandimen Area”(photo 1), and it was selected to the New Ministry of Education Art Exhibition.

The figures painted by Chen with the brushwork style illustrates a scenery of a woman carrying a baby, two little girls wearing red and yellow clothes, a woman squatting and holding a pipe on the left with a naturally elegant appearance; scarves, clothing, jewelry denoting different social status, elaborate patterns and various colors enrich the painting with ethnic features

What is interesting is that the figures in the draft have more piercing eyes, unyielding appearances and darker skin. Needless to say, the large scale of the exhibited painting makes it look really “pretty”; however, the wildness within their appearances captured during her painting were watered down to make them look just like non-aboriginal people in aboriginal clothing; the woman with a pipe reminds people of the image of a French lady. Maybe changes like this corresponded with Japanese judges’ expectations, just conveying pure exoticism and not posing a threat, in terms of the depiction of the female and of other ethnicities.

The mechanisms of exhibitions and education in the Japanese colonial period shaped the field of art in Taiwan. Chen, who won numerous awards, must be really proficient in detecting the underlying rules of that time so that she could slash a career path out of the thorns of racial and gender difficulties in that period.
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