Along with several exciting young Southeast Asian artists, we are also considering works by Tao artists for the cover and interior art of the anthology. One of the Tao artists on our list is Flying Fish (born 1970). Some of his work can be viewed on his Xuite webpage, Flying Fish Cafe.
[Above image originally posted on Flying Fish Cafe. Artwork © Flying Fish, the artist. Flying fish, the fish, are revered by the Tao and form an important staple food.]
[Tao] tribesmen constructed a traditional boat (ipanga na; they haven’t built one in over 100 yrs) and made a voyage from Lanyu (Orchid Island) to [Taitung] … in preparation for their voyage back to Batanes [the northernmost and the smallest province of the Philippines] in order to keep [a] tradition from completely dying. … [No] one alive has ever made the trip, but some of the elders still have the oceanic knowledge of the “black current” that runs between Taiwan and [the Philippines] (which is how them used to travel between the 2 islands!) So this journey is very important for them in order to keep the connections alive!
In an interview with the Taipei Times, one of the rowers, Maraos (瑪拉歐斯), relates how he was weened on stories of a great seafaring nation of islands that shared the same language and culture as his own—the Tao. The project is known as Keep Rowing (繼續划船), an effort by the Tao people to relive an ancient voyage and reconnect with the Ivatan, the people of the Batanes. For this project, the Tao built Ipanga na 1001. Ipanga na in Tao means moving, crossing over, navigation, from here to there and further. They started construction on November 2006 and finished in May 2007. Ipanga na 1001 is the largest Tao wooden boat ever built in a century and the first to reach Taiwan in living memory. Batanes, 100 km south of Lanyu, formed part of the legendary nation spoken of by Maraos’s ancestors. The journey to Batanes next year will be one of the most important events in the history of the Tao and Ivatan. Maraos in the Taipei Times: “These are our people. We speak the same language and we share the same culture … This is my … and Lanyu people’s dreams.”
[Photo on right by casyc23. Reposted from I-fan Lin's Global Voices post. The red and black circle at the head of the boat is "mata-no-tarara," (eye and sun) traditional Tao symbols believed to expel evil spirits and evoke good fortunes.]
Keep Rowing (繼續划船) blog (only in traditional Chinese text)
I-fan Lin’s Keep Rowing posts and translations at Global Voices Online
Austronesian adventurer revives Aboriginal traditions
Tao tribesmen get hero’s welcome at Tamsui Wharf
Tao aborigines paddle fishing canoe to Taipei
Marie Angeline Liquigan’s short introductory write-up on the Ivatan