Since graduating from National Superior Fine Arts School (L'ENSB - A) Paris, France, in 1999, Denghas been creating works which have beenshown atmultiple exhibitions, bothin Taiwan and abroad. Inthe beginning, Dengcleverly combined oil painting and embroidery,following whichshe moved on to mixed media paintings on Hakka printed cloth. Recently, she has been working on soft sculpture made with natural dyes, together with wovenand embroidered maps, traversing the world of multiple typesof fibers.
Deng was born in Dongzhu, Hualian - formerly known asTourenpu, and once called Zhutian - to which Deng’s Hakkanese grandfather had walked from Zhudong, Hsinchu. Deng’s mother came from Majialu, a hunting areawhich the SirayaPlain Tribe in Dazhuanghad been given by the aboriginalPuyuma Tribe in 1862,along with cattle and pigs. Dazhuang, now Dongli, is a village formed by the Siraya people who moved to eastern Taiwan to evade the Chinese. Many years ago, Dengconsulted the household register transcript back to the Japanese-occupationperiod, and found her maternal family was all marked as ‘Shou’, a symbolic characterrepresenting Taiwanese plains aborigines. This finding embeddeditself intoDeng’s mind and hasinspired herto discoverwhere her roots lie.
To meet the European need for blue dyes, bluegrass has been grown in Taiwan since the island was under Dutch rule. Our ancestors used natural plants, such as assam indigo and dye roots, to dye threads for weaving. Following in the steps ofherancestors, Denghas endeavoredto revive theirskills,which have almost disappeared. She collected sugar cane leaves and bark, common garcinia, murrayapaniculata and indigo,and has boiledand concoctedthese natural materials, as a result of whichDenghas created threads of more than twenty colors.
In thisexhibition, Dengexplores the theme of Siraya culture. She has made tapestries with hemp ropes, sugar cane leaves andskin, and threads, as well as history maps of Soulangh made with cross-stitch and embroidery. Adopting the concept of a studio, Denghas built a loft to display her manuscripts for research, sketches, and a time-lapse recording ofher residency to help spectators better understand the process of her creations.
The term ‘flying shuttle’ is used to describe the shuttles travelling swiftly through aweaving machine. As an artist, Denghas traversed different eras and places, putting together ambiguousfragments, weaving childlikestories with her imagination. The artist’s residency happens to be a journeyback to her roots.