The fields in the mountain of my spirit: Etan Pavavalung Solo Exhibition

Booth | Insights 1D56

Artist | Etan Pavavlaung

Venue | Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center (1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong)

Online Viewing Room | (Please register on to access the Online Viewing Rooms.)

Private View |
May 25 (Wed.) to 26 (Thu.), 12:00 – 20:00
May 27 (Fri.), 12:00 – 14:00
May 28 (Sat.), 12:00 – 14:00
May 29 (Sun.), 11:00 – 12:00

Vernissage |
May 27 (Fri.), 14:00 – 20:00

General Show Hours | 
May 28 (Sat.), 14:00 – 20:00
May 29 (Sun.), 12:00 – 18:00

Asia Art Center is honored to present a solo show of Artist Etan Pavavalung (b. 1963) in the Art Basel in Hong Kong 2022. Born in the Tavadran Tribe of Dashe Village of the Paiwan group in Taiwan, Etan Pavavalung is an internationally renowned artist. As a member of the Pavavalung family of the Davalan tribe, Etan Pavavalung inherited the Pulima spirit of the Paiwan group, reflecting and expressing culture through artistic practice. In the Paiwan language, “Lima” means “hand,” and Pulima means “a person with exquisite craftsmanship who accomplishes goals with hands.”

In his past artistic propositions, Etan focused on the cultural consciousness of the indigenous people and the care of tribal reconstruction, particularly after the Morakot typhoon in 2009. Etan’s mother called for respect for nature, and the tribal elders also spoke of “The mountain blows fragrant and sweet winds,” hoping that the tribe could return to their homes on the mountain again one day. These wishes are deeply implanted in the life of Etan and became an indispensable initiative in his artistic practice. He is devoted to the spiritual reconstruction of the tribe and plays the role of a storyteller. Through artistic creation, he guides the tribe to remember the initial intention of interacting with the natural earth.

In recent years, Etan has gradually shifted from spiritual reconstruction to the deeper interpretation of cultural aesthetics, such as mythology and ecological philosophy. The solo exhibition “My Sacred Mountain” held at the Asia Art Center (Taipei) in 2021 which points to this subtle change, illuminating a pilgrimage for Etan to explore inwardly as a Paiwan group member and a Christian. Although it seems like a turning point, it is actually a restoration of cultural ethnicity, as his mother’s reminders and tribal elders’ stories made Etan introspect on his interaction with nature and land. He imprinted these irreplaceable life experiences in his works, incorporating symbolic elements derived from the spiritual foundation of the tribe such as “sun,” “wind,” “lily,” “eyes,” and others to construct an abstract and vibrant sacred mountain. Furthermore, he believed that before all things existed, a more primitive and noble being existed. The being looked after all things, essentially as sunshine and stars, lilies of the land, and fragrant delivered from the mountain wind.

Etan’s unique “Trace Layer Carve Paint” is derived from the Paiwan term “Vecik.” and used to express his artistic vocabulary. “Vecik” means writing, embroidering, engraving, and tattooing with patterns, usually referring to the “Iconic Designs” in their culture and everyday life, where various symbols and patterns are combined, each represents a precise meaning and relationship. While the verb “Venecik” of “Vecik” means completing the patterns mentioned above, it also means writing or recording. It records the way the tribe interacts with nature and documents the vital inheritance of tribal culture. Etan transforms the expression of contemporary art with “Trace Layer Carve Paint” and reproduces the ancient aesthetic experience of the Paiwan people.

Inside and Outside, Between UsFlowers in Heaven (Left to right)

2022. Acrylic and print pigment on board, 66 x 56.2 cm

Growing on EarthBetween Heaven and Earth (Left to right)

2022. Acrylic and print pigment on board, 100 x 80 cm

I found a field in the mountain of my spirit I, II

2021. Acrylic and print pigment on board, 240 x 90 cm

Thoughts Beyond the Mountain
Thoughts on the Mountain

2022. Acrylic and print pigment on board, 60 x 80 cm