Taipei, At a time when society is inundated with divisive messages, a charity exhibition organized by a group of amateur photographers that features the beauty of Taiwan is hoping to bring people together while supporting a good cause.
The "Our Island" photo exhibition, which opened at the Jazz Image Gallery in Taipei on Saturday, is being held by the Taiwan Exchange Photography Club (TEPC) to raise money to support the charitable work of Father Yves Moal at St. Andrew Training Center for the Disabled in Hualien County.
The club was founded several years ago by Patrice Delmotte, a Frenchmen who moved to Taiwan 40 years ago, to provide a platform for photography enthusiasts to share their works and offer each other constructive criticism.
According to TEPC member James Lee a Taiwanese, the group started off consisting of only foreign nationals, but it gradually grew to also include Taiwanese like himself.
Lee, who recently turned 65, said the group is inclusive in the sense that its members are aged anywhere from 30 to over 60, represent many different nationalities, and come from diverse backgrounds.
They are all brought together by their common interest in photography, he said, and the group began holding regular charity photo exhibitions in 2015 to support those who are less fortunate through their works.
Lee said the three previous exhibitions each successfully raised about NT$500,000 (US$16,015).
The money was used to support the St. Anne's Home in Taipei's Shilin District, an orphanage housing disabled children abandoned by their birth parents, and the award-winning string orchestra Chin Ai Music which is composed of young indigenous students from Nantou County, he said.
Asked why they decided to name this year's charity exhibition "Our Island," club member Kenneth Dickson from the United Kingdom said it was because the name encapsulates an important message the TEPC wants to send, which is inclusiveness.
"I think it is very appropriate because it really includes everybody. We try to include everybody, both locals and foreigners who live here," Dickson told CNA before the exhibition's opening reception Saturday afternoon.
"Most of us have lived here quite a few years. We like the fact that it is 'our island' because it is inclusive and we all have a little bit of ownership somehow," he said.
Another message the club is hoping to send through the 57 works from 19 photographers displayed at the exhibition -- which capture landscapes, buildings, plants, animals and people's everyday lives -- is that "Taiwan is a beautiful place," Dickson said.
The exhibition is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. It runs until May 23.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel