I have just learned that I will be inducted into the Taiwan Fulbright Hall of Fame on May 18, 2018! This is a great honor, and I am sorry that I will not be in Taiwan to attend the dinner and official induction ceremony in Taipei. Below is an excerpt from the letter of Fulbright Taiwan Executive Director, William Vocke, informing me of this honor:
Dear Rebecca Jane Ingram Allen,
With great pleasure, I am happy to inform you of your nomination and induction into the Hall of Fame for the Foundation for Scholarly Exchange.
This new initiative follows on our successful celebration last year of “60 years of Educational Exchange in Taiwan.” As you know, the Foundation is the successor non-profit for the United States Educational Foundation in the Republic of China and took over all the responsibilities and obligations of the former in 1979.
At our Spring Recognition Banquet on May 18th, 2018 we plan to announce the formation of the Hall of Fame and the initial inductees. You are cordially invited to join us for the announcement. We understand that with short notice you are unlikely to attend, but we hope that you will consider joining us or sending a brief email.
A plaque with your picture and short biography from published sources will be featured in the Foundation offices. The commemoration reads:
￼Fulbright Taiwan/Foundation for Scholarly Exchange
Hall of Fame
“A world with a little more knowledge and a little less conflict.”
Rebecca Jane Ingram Allen
support of enduring friendship between the people of the United States and Taiwan,
significant public and private contributions to international educational exchange, and commitment to the Fulbright vision of a better world.
I was a Fulbright Scholar in Taiwan in 2003-04 and 2004-05, and completed an 18-month research project I called “Made in Taiwan” to make my art with handmade paper from plants of Taiwan. As a Fulbright grantee I spent the first 6 months based in Taipei as an artist in residence at the Suho Memorial Paper Museum and the next 12 months traveling to 13 different parts of Taiwan hosted by various organizations and making handmade paper for my artworks from bark and leaves of 135 local plants. During the residencies in each community I cooperated with local plant experts and also exhibited my artwork and taught workshops for the community about hand papermaking using local plants. The artworks I made for this project were what I call “site maps” that depicted the geography of the place and were made entirely with materials collected in that place. The two-sided mixed media “site maps” were displayed in each place, and the collection grew to include approximately 53 artworks “made in Taiwan”.
Taiwan Site Maps installed at Suho Museum, Taipei, 2004
Cooking some plants for papermaking in Tainan, Taiwan, in 2005
Participants in Yilan handmade paper workshop in 2005
Putting my handmade paper to dry on a Taipei manhole cover in 2004 to create a Taipei Site Map.
Hanging my “Made in Taiwan” site maps in Hualien, Taiwan, in 2004
Teaching a handmade paper art workshop in 2004 in Yilan County, Taiwan, at a local elementary school.
At the end of my grants my husband Tim and I decided to stay in Taiwan, and we lived there full time until August 2012. I have continued to do art projects in Taiwan involving community people, schools and universities as well as NGOs and other institutions in Taiwan. I also started environmental art projects to bring other international artists to Taiwan who join with Taiwanese artists using natural materials and working with issues concerning the environment. I started the Guandu International Outdoor Sculpture Festival at Guandu Nature Park in Taipei in 2006 and the Cheng Long Wetlands International Environmental Art Project in Cheng Long village, Yunlin County in 2010 and the National Museum of Marine Science and Technology International Marine Environmental Art Project in 2015.
Cheng Long Wetlands International Environmental Art Project, installations done in 2015 by Marisa Merlin and Roger Rigorth.
All of these projects are continuing in Taiwan, and Taiwan is now a leader in Asia for environmental art with more artists and more communities starting to have an environmental focus and a concern for environmental conditions. I usually go back to Taiwan each year for a few months to do environmental art projects and my own artwork cooperating with various organizations around Taiwan. I just returned from the 9th anniversary celebration of the Cheng Long Wetlands International Environmental Art Project in Cheng Long village, Yunlin County, Taiwan. You can see more about this project on the Blog at http://artproject4wetland.wordpress.com
I am very happy to be awarded the honor of being in the Taiwan Fulbright Hall of Fame. I feel like Taiwan is my second home and it is a beautiful place with wonderful people who recognize the value of art and its role in preserving our environment and helping to make a better world. Thank you to the Foundation for Scholarly Exchange for this honor, and I plan to continue my work in Taiwan.