Designed by Taichung’s local sculptor Chien-yao Chao and Manbanpai Studio, the artwork incorporates elements such as compass, binoculars and marine communications to break away from the traditional mold of Mazu as a guardian of the sea and transform Mazu into a seafarer bent on navigating Taiwan to the top of the world in the form of an art installation entitled “Mazu the Seafarer”. The art installation was moved to the front square of Port of Taichung Tourist Information Center on the 7th, symbolizing that Mazu will lead Taiwan to join the global community and demonstrate Taichung’s artistic prowess. Deputy Mayor I-ying Lin indicated that in conjunction with the opening of Mitsui Outlet next year, the adorable, creative art installation will transform the seaboard area into a popular check in spot. Furthermore, with the city and the port collaborating to generate local developments, the seaboard area will become a fantastic getaway for traveling and recreation.
As the art installation jointly created by the Cultural Affairs Bureau of Taichung City and Port of Taichung Taiwan International Ports Corporation was officially moved into the Port of Taichung, Deputy Mayor Lin attended the ribbon-cutting press conference accompanied by Deputy Director of Cultural Affairs Bureau of Taichung City Chun-fu Shih. Other dignitaries present included: City Councilor Tien-chung Yang, Harbor Master of Port of Taichung Taiwan International Ports Corporation Wu-tsang Chen, Industrial Development and Investment Promotion Committee of Taichung City Secretary-general Wang-hsiu Huang, Vice President of the Legislative Yuan Chi-chang Tsai, City Councilors Li-min Yan, Bi-ling You, Li-jen Wang and Shu-lan Liu. Everyone enjoyed themselves in the festive ambiance.
According to the Cultural Affairs Bureau, “Mazu the Seafarer” received first prize for the Mazu action figure design competition organized by the Cultural Affairs Bureau in 2015. Designed by Chun-hao Shih, the art installation is 4 m tall, 4.5 m long and 1.8 m wide, where Mazu is transformed into the captain, while Clairvoyance and Clairaudience are decorated with binoculars and headphones respectively. Mazu’s boat is “Kai Jiao Hua Pi Gu”, an ancient Chinese wooden sailboat featuring two semi-open sheep horns called “Kai Jiao” at the bow and carvings at the stern called “Hua Pi Gu”. This type of boat was popular along the coastal area of Zhejiang and Fujian starting in the Ming Dynasty, featuring the distinct characteristics of both regions, thus making it an iconic vessel.
Deputy Mayor Lin suggested that thanks to the art installation’s adorable qualities and popularity, it is set to become an extremely popular check in destination in the future, thereby attracting more visitors to the seaboard area.
Deputy Mayor Lin commented that the city government and Port of Taichung Taiwan International Ports Corporation signed a cooperation agreement to launch several collaborations in achieving the goal of “introducing visitors and exporting cargo via two ports”. So far, the programs have demonstrated remarkable performance. With Mitsui Outlet opening its doors in the seaboard area towards the end of next year, besides generating related economic and trade developments, it will also become the ideal location for family recreation, shopping, dining, and recreation. The Deputy Mayor extended her thanks to various units in the seaboard area for attaining outstanding performance during the cooperation. In the future, it is hoped to facilitate more cooperation and developments.
According to the Harbor Master of Port of Taichung Taiwan International Ports Corporation Wu-tsang Chen, in the past, cargo import and export was the main business of Port of Taichung, hence it was somewhat unfamiliar to local residents or other organization. However, thanks to the “Mazu the Seafarer” art installation by the city government and Port of Taichung Taiwan International Ports Corporation, it has become one of the shining examples of diverse cooperation at the Port of Taichung. After the completion and inauguration of Mitsui Outlet next year, it will be linked to the Port of Taichung Tourist Information Center to attract more visitors. Since Mazu is the guardian of the sea, therefore the art installation also symbolizes the safety of ships entering and leaving the Port of Taichung.