(Born in 1971. Taiwan)
The Axis of Life, 2018
Vines in the Mountains, 2020
Coming from a Paiwan tribe in southern Taiwan, Aruwai Kaumakan creates sculptures with wool, cotton, copper, silk, and glass beads, weaving organic or vegetal forms. She uses “Lemikalik”—a Paiwan technique that consists in weaving in concentric circles—intertwining life memories of tribal nobility to form a place for constant conversation and connection. Her practice is inspired by her tradition and at the same time is not “frozen” in the past, as it responds to current issues she and her tribe face today. Indeed, her village was hit by a particularly violent typhoon in 2009, forcing them to relocate in Rinari tribe.
One might be tempted to use the term “resilience” to characterise her practice but let’s not jump to that concept too quickly, given that it implies a certain degree of immobilism and conservatism, accepting a situation rather than mobilizing against the causes of the problem, and this is not her case. Looking for ways to connect members of her displaced community through a creative process, which reactivates and transforms a set of traditions, becomes a statement about developing ways to dwell in a disturbed environment. It is one of the many interesting possibilities for moving towards the planet TERRESTRIAL.