The Gallery

08.09.13 > 27.10.13

Seediq Bale

Row-long Chiu, published by Akata

In 1583, when a Portuguese ship put into a port on the coast of Taiwan for fresh supplies, her captain was so struck by this exquisite island that he christened it Ilha Formosa, or Beautiful Island. Little wonder then that four centuries later, this same island has inspired Seediq Bale, a work that can be regarded as a gem of the present day comic strip. Its author, Row-long Chiu, has a thorough knowledge of the culture of the Seediq tribe which has allowed him to give a particularly affecting and well-informed portrayal of one of the most horrifying episodes in Taiwanese history. Seediq Bale is indisputably one of the most authentic of Taiwanese graphic novels which will have a profound effect on its readers. For all these reasons, the Belgian Comic Strip Centre is very proud to be exhibiting the French translation of this Asian comic strip masterpiece.

Willem De Graeve, Belgian Comic Strip Center.

 

In 1930, after many decades of oppression, the Taiwanese Seediq tribe lead the longest and most violent revolt in the history of the Japanese occupation of the island. Led by their highly revered chieftain Rudo Mouna, these headhunting warriors rise up to win back their pride, to honour their ancestors and to defend their right to continue to follow the Gaya philosophy that guides their lives. Far more than just a graphic novel, Seediq Bale - les guerriers de l’Arc-en-Ciel compels recognition as a heartfelt profession of faith on behalf of oppressed peoples and of respect for tribal cultures.

Born in 1965, Row-long Chiu was influenced from childhood by his father and grandfather, who were both illustrators. Row-long Chiu soon excelled in writing and drawing in a realist style. But it was his encounter with the Seediq tribe that was literally to change his life. Influenced by the many hours spent in their company, and by his Seediq wife, Chiu began researching the history of the tribe and gathering historical documentation on the uprising of 1930, when 300 Seediq aborigines revolted against the Japanese colonists and occupiers. This "Wushe Incident", to give it its historical name, was the most heroic but also the most tragic rebellion in modern Taiwanese history. Row-long Chiu helped to produce several textbooks in the aboriginal language before finally publishing La révolte de Wushe (1990), the first Taiwanese comic strip to deal with the history of its natives. In 2011, La révolte de Wushe was made into a film titled Seediq Bale, Warriors of the Rainbow.

Taiwanese Cultural Centre in Paris and Akata publishing house.

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