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Taiwan Research Programme
London School of Economics and Political Science
Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE


Professor Stephan Feuchtwang

Dr Fang-Long Shih

Making a Space of One's Own: the Taiwan Women's Art Association and its impact on contemporary Taiwan

With Ms Natalie Seiz (University of Sydney)

Series:  London Taiwan Seminar

Date: Thursday 6 March 2008, 6pm-8pm

Venue: Room 116, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)

Chair: Mr Stuart Thompson (Taiwan Culture Research Programme)


The Women's Art Association (WAA) is an arts organisation which supports the art of women in Taiwan. Unofficially established in the early 1990s, as a small organisation which initially met in a coffee shop, it in many ways echoed those women's organisations which were established in United States and Europe in the 1960s and 1970s at the height of the Women's Movement. In Taiwan, the organisation gradually assumed ideologies surrounding feminism and feminist theory in art, which could be used as a political strategy to assist in the legitimisation of women artists, their work and their position in society. However was this legitimising approach to inadvertently become a power strategy within the organisation, where women artists would be more than encouraged to partake in the dominant political principles established? In this paper I will examine the role WAA had in the organisation of exhibitions, usually exclusive to women artists, and consider the problematics associated with the monopoly this can create on exhibition practices for women artists.

Important to this discussion is the rapid rate at which feminist theoretical ideology within the WAA itself was to develop in comparison to its rise in any western context. The speed created the establishment, at certain levels, questions within the organisation that could be seen to be divided between a perpetuation of the feminist political discourse locked in a recurrent time frame, and on the other hand the acceptance that the goals of the 'women's movement' have now been attained. The consequence was further to transform the WAA along geographical lines, as the association's leadership in the 21st century moved to Kaohsiung. What did this geographical shift mean for the future of an organisation which actually produced its initial exhibitions in the south?

About the speaker

Ms Natalie Seiz is a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney, Australia in the Department of Art History and Theory, researching contemporary art and women artists in Taiwan. As part of her Master of Art Administration degree at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, in 1999 she did two internships at Taipei Fine Arts Museum and Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Art, deciding to stay a further two years in Taiwan to study Mandarin. Natalie also currently holds a position at the Art Gallery of New South Wales as Assistant Curator in the Asian Art Department. She has delivered papers at conferences and published articles on contemporary Asian art. She is currently guest editing an issue of the TAASA Review (The Journal of the Asian Arts Society of Australia) dedicated to the contemporary art of East Asia.