SUAVEART concentrates on the cultural value between art and life. Presenting the stories and issues related to “island, art and life”. Creating the borderless dialogues that can be found everywhere in our daily life.

Short info of Artist

Ke-Ting Chen collects local stories, then transform them into different layers of knowledge. He has successfully started his ‘’gathering’’ actions from work and life, combined with plant, weaving and local community. He has published and participated in several exhibitions such as “Conflux Project” and “Time Samples.” Through his artistic practice, he seeks out new forms of understanding beyond the method of collecting.

These three stories are about different lifestyles. The first story is about my first job in Palau, on the Pacific island. The second story is from Dominican in the Caribbean, where I travelled before. The last story is from my country, Orchid Island, also called “Pongso no Tao” in the local language, where I did the Ethnobotanical research there.

Keyword 1 : UAB

My first job is doing agricultural assistance in an island, called Belal (or Palau) in the Pacific. It took me almost two years living there with a typical tropical island lifestyle. I stayed in the southwest corner of the main island, Babeldaob, which is named Aimeliik. It rained so much compared to the weather in the other part of Babeldaob. Once my coworker told me about a local folk: The Giant, Uab, then I got the answer to my inquiring. 

The old story said, unlike the combination of islands of Palau now, in the old days there were only two islands, Peleliu and Angaur. In the village of Angaur, there’s a special child given birth, named Uab. Uab was very special from other children. Uab gobbled everything in sight and became bigger and bigger. He grew to be a greedy giant, thus he became a danger to the whole village.  Uab terrorized the villagers, demanding homage, crying for food. The villagers built a huge house to fence him in and brought him food everyday by climbing up the ladder to reach his mouth.  

Greedy Uab ate more and more, even there’s no food for the villagers. The villagers couldn’t take it anymore.  One day they decided to kill him.  So while he was stuffing his face they built a fire around him. The giant stood screaming in pain and broke the walls of his prison and fell northwest. 

Uab’s body crashed northward and fell apart, with the various parts forming the Palau archipelago. 

His main body became Babeldaob, the toes and feet made Iouldaob and the beautiful Rock Islands. The west of Babeldaob is his belly.  The east is his back. 

It is said the people of Ngarchelong Village (northern tip of Babeldaob Island) have a lot of intelligence because Ngarchelong is one part of Uab’s head.  And Aimeliik is his penis! That’s why it rains a lot!

Keyword 2 : THREE LIGHTS

I like to visit unusual places and explore different environments. One of my dreams is collecting food, cooking, and sleeping on a beach as a wildman. Thus I try to get a dreamt of opportunity when I travelled to the northern coast of The Dominican Republic.

As an abundant tropical island, the food is easy to get all arounds, if you have the basic knowledge about biology (especially plants). On my way to the camping beach, I picked up a breadfruit. Then set a fire to BBQ it for my dinner. Dark night fell down, stars raised up. That was my first night in the wild as my dream. 

Suddenly, many sparklings flew around me. Fireflies! I walked into the edge of the ocean, how surprising, the outlines of my feet flashed caused by the bioluminescent plankton. Three kinds of light: stars, fireflies, bioluminescent plankton in my eyes. What a lucky wild night!

Keyword 3 : TARO

Go back to my island, Taiwan. In which, it contains many islands. One of it, the most beautiful island called Pongso No Tao, meaning the island of human beings. This is my first field of Ethnobotanical survey. Tao people, the local tribe in that island, keep the traditional culture in their ordinary life, either crops, architectures, tools, food or language. In addition, its unique and treasurable ecosystem and landscape, it has become more and more popular for researchers, and tourists as well. 

Different from our usual eating habits, Tao people eat boiled taro as their staple food. The taro paddy field is the characteristic landscape of nearby old villages. And this special crop became my survey target to discover Tao’s life. 

Once my reporter took me to the spot of the source of irrigation spring water. We walked through the fields. Cool island wind blew from green mountains to the blue ocean, through the trees, taro, and us. Swinging taro leaves look like many ears searching for sound, listening to our cheerful chatting.


Thank you so much!

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