Cihu Memorial Sculpture Park. Iconoclasm, memory and the importance of space
AuthorSkillingstad, Torhild Larsen
The Cihu Memorial Sculpture Park is located in rural Taiwan and features over 200 statues of the former authoritarian leader, Chiang Kai-shek (1893-1975). Taiwan had been ruled by Chiang and his son for 38 years of martial law, which ended in 1987. Since then, democracy has developed and the past has been put under scrutiny. Statues of Chiang decorated all official buildings and schools, but once martial law ended, calls for their removal were made. Many of the statues were gathered and displayed in the Cihu Memorial Sculpture Park. The concepts of iconoclasm (the destruction of art), and lieux de mémoire (sites of memory) have been applied in the analysis of the park’s significance. Through analyzing information plaques in the statue park through a Critical Discourse Analysis, I have examined if the park represents a displacement of Chiang’s memory, or if it is a way to keep his memory alive. The finding is that it might represent both, for different parts of the population; to the general public his memory has been laid to rest in the periphery, but for people with a special interest, it allows for vivid memories of Chiang. Additionally, I argue that the physical space of the statue park, as well as the political space it provides, has been important both for sympathizers with Chiang, and the Taiwanese democracy. The statue park represents political plurality, however unpopular Chiang may be in certain parts of society. Moreover, the park is placed in the periphery, and does not force Chiang’s memory on those who do not seek it out.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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Copyright 2016 The Author(s)
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