Thursday, June 28, 2007

photography museum

Photographers gathered in Taipei's only art photography gallery, TIVAC, at the weekend to launch a campaign to try to raise funds and government support to establish a national photography museum - which could be the first in the Chinese speaking world.
While several museums (like the TFAM) have photography collections, many important historical photos are not kept in any special collection, but held by family members of photographers who have since passed away.
But a museum would be costly (several million USD) and there's also a problem of finding qualified staff to run it and help conserve fragile prints. No-one is under any illusion it will happen any time soon - but a dream has been planted.
"Photography is very important…. image is in fact related to our culture, society, and human being", said photographer Leon Tsai, one of the organisers of the campaign.
Lee Yong-Pin, head of Taipei's cultural affairs bureau, is supportive of the idea; but also says funding is a problem. She says some other cities have combined fine arts museums with a photography museum - and that might be a possible alternative.
One of the key advocates of the museum idea is Malaysian-Chinese Suan Hooi-Wah, who runs the TIVAC gallery and is a passionate champion of of local photographers. He recently curated a photo exhibition at TFAM, tracking down photos that were once displayed at Taiwan's first photo gallery (long since closed), Rose Marie.

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