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Sunflower Movement

Lutetia ART-at-TAC 

Sunflower-COT-art-0624 - 6
Starting 7 June 2024, Lutetia ART-at-TAC will be showing a photography exhibition by Tobie Openshaw. The exhibition showcases Oppenshaw’s photojournalistic works during the “Sunflower Movement” in Taiwan in 2014, commemorating the 10-year anniversary of this historical event that profoundly changed the political landscape in Taiwan.

Tobie Openshaw

Hailing from South Africa, videographer/documentary photographer Openshaw has been living in Taiwan since 1998. His broad spectrum of photojournalistic work in Taiwan includes working for several international news outlets. During the Sunflower Movement between 18 March to 10 April 2014, Openshaw photographed the peaceful occupation, by students and civic groups, of the Legislative Yuan and Executive Yuan, in protest of the passing of the Cross Strait Service Trade Agreement without a clause-by-clause review by the then government. Much has been written and reported on the protest, but what Openshaw hopes to show with this exhibition is not so much the events, but the moments during this movement.

Openshaw’s photographs position him on the ground. They offer an intimate view of the situation not so much from a journalistic point of view, but one of the onlooker with a sharp and cool gaze. He captures seemingly insignificant moments that exude the humanity of all the people who were involved in the events. Police and protestors stand in the same room, no confrontations, all doing what they are there to do, in peace, with respect.

Openshaws remembers how at the end of a police work shift, the protesters would say to them: “hard work today, see you tomorrow”. There were medical students offering help, lawyers offering free advice, additional employees of the nearby Seven-Eleven busy stocking the store to keep supplies up for the protesters. These small gestures of kindness and thoughtfulness were what stood out for Openshaw, much more than the politics and issues. As news reports tell us constantly how events like this could easily turn to violence and repression, this event embodied a version of democracy at its best, its effects still felt 10 years on. 

Tobie Openshaw’s solo exhibition opens on Friday 7 June, with the opening reception from 5:30pm to 8:30pm. Openshaw will be present to give a guided tour and talk about his experience being there on the ground during the Sunflower Movement. All are welcome.

jessica-wang-simula

Jessica Wang Simula was born in Taiwan but has lived in six different countries since adolescence before relocating back to Taiwan with her family over three years ago. Having worked in the arts in Shanghai and London, she is interested in how the arts can start new conversations, build communities and connect people.

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