Crowds expected through Tuvalu pavillion at Venice Biennale
More than one million people are expected to pass through a pavillion for Tuvalu at one of the world's most prestigious contemporary art exhibitions - the 56th Venice Biennale.
More than one million people are expected to pass through a pavilion for Tuvalu at one of the world's most prestigious contemporary art exhibitions -- the 56th Venice Biennale.
The pavilion, by Taiwanese artist Vincent Huang, contains a turquoise pool that is crossed by two paths that submerge slightly when walked across, which Mr Huang says represents the plight of Tuvalu in facing rising sea levels caused by climate change.
Mr Huang says he hopes the massive crowds expected at the Biennale will learn of the challenges Tuvalu is facing as a result of a problem it did little to create.
He told Jamie Tahana he was inspired by a speech by, Ian Fry, Tuvalu's representative at the 2009 UN climate change conference in Denmark, in which he said "the fate of my country rests in your hands."
The exhibition in Venice is open for another six months.
VINCENT HUANG: I was inspired and found very touching Ian Fry, who was the chief negotiator of Tuvalu government. He was spoke about the fate of my country in UN Climate Change conference in Copenhagen in 2009. That was quite touching to me and led me to be interested in this tiny island nation and I'm based in Taiwan. After some research I went to Tuvalu for the first time in 2010 and I see the impact of seas rising. I start to create a lot of eco-art projects to assist the tiny island nation get more international attention. The theme of this year's Venice Biennale is 'All the World's future'. It's a sinking nation combined with a sinking city which is Venice here.
JAMIE TAHANA: How do you portray the plight of Tuvalu with climate change in Venice? Take us through the artwork, what does it look like?
VH: I create a floating national pavilion which we pumped water from the grand canal to fill it in our pavilion space and we also made a local bridge, usually you see it in Venice when sea level rises.
JT: So it's kind of like a pool with a submerged path, is that what you're saying?
VH: Yes, yes, yes. Like a pathway with called a local bridge in Venice because sea-level rising has also hit Venice and its very open, so we combined water and the local bridge to let people enter. When they enter the pavilion they can walk on the bridge and the water will come a little bit over the bridge.
JT: So it's a bridge where the water washes over and I guess you get your feet wet. Is this symbolic of climate change?
VH: Yes and this idea about an ancient Chinese philosophy because now we are facing sea level rising and so we make a conceptual installation which is only water and cloud without land.
JT: Water and the clouds? That relates to Chinese philosophy?
VH: It's Zhuangzi,it's about doubt. The behind meaning is human and nature as one which also means human and nature should be living in harmony.
JT: The Biennale in Venice, Italy. How many people who've seen this have even heard of Tuvalu, let alone are aware of the plight of the country?
VH: Before that most of the people had never heard about the tiny island nation in the South Pacific either. But about 100 media come to interview in the Tuvalu pavilion as well as the president of the biennale also came here and see. He thinks it is very, very meaningful combining sinking nation with a sinking city.
JT: It's a Tuvalu pavilion about Tuvalu, what Tuvalu involvement is there? Has there been any contribution from the country itself to this?
VH: Because you know Tuvalu government is quite a poor nation so a lot of our funding is from personal sponsors and from private companies from Taiwan.
JT: How many people do you expect to pass through the exhibit in those six months?
VH: We expect over one million people. It will be the biggest biennale this time.
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