2020 marks the first-ever collaboration between The Alliance Cultural Foundation (ACF) and Gosh Foundation in the twelfth Gosh Creative Arts Camp. Initiated by Sylvia Chang, renowned actress and director who is founder of the Gosh Foundation, this year’s camp was held in August at the Junyi School of Innovation recruiting in total 60 senior high school students from across Taiwan who have a passion for performing arts. The 2020 theme, “I know everything, but…” was conceived to bring awareness that while in an era where the internet and wireless internet devices has enabled instant access to information, people seem to know everything yet none at all. Through music, dance and drama the camp aims to inspire true self-discovery in both campers and volunteers. Held for the first time in Taitung, local elements and resources were vastly integrated into the camp. Volunteers, who were once campers and are now pursuing performing arts majors, led and mentored new campers while learning leadership and organizational skills. The eight-day, seven-night camp closed with a final performance.
Self-discovery through cultural, storytelling, skills learning
From 1-8 August, campers enjoyed a number of masterclasses which focused on culture, storytelling, and the nurturing of skills. In learning about culture, from the Paiwan artist Cudjuy Patjidres, who years before began reviving the tribe’s traditional hand tattoo culture, they learned the symbolic meanings of Paiwan tattoos and witnessed a live demonstration. From the Bunun tribesperson Fotol Langus, who is a PhD candidate for Anthropology at the National Taiwan University, they learned tribe history, the importance of foxtail millet, ramie, hunting, and its improvised yet sophisticated polyphonic form of singing. With the CEO of Lovely Taiwan Foundation Lee Yin-pin, they visited one of the foundation’s projects, Tiehua Music Village, where they enjoyed music and the arts of Taitung. With artist Jun T. Lai, who is reputable in both fine arts and public art, they learned to harness their own creativities with natural materials.
In learning to story tell, campers learned the secrets of storytelling through photography from photographer Chen Jien-e, who has over 30-years of experience, and Ben Jiang, Co-founder of China Next (CNEX), a nonprofit organization that helps filmmakers document China. In the nurturing of skills, camp Director Du Shi-hu, who is Assistant Professor of the Department of Theater Arts of National Sun Yat-Sen University, led students into a mindful movement of self in correspondence with the environment, and being in-tuned with their own breathing and density. From members of the Bulareyaung Dance Company, campers learned dance, to feel the power of every muscle even at calm, and to sing folk songs of the Paiwan tribe. Campers also attended the 2020 Moonlight Sea Concert, an annual outdoor concert which features performances by musicians from the East Coast of Taiwan, and enjoyed music, local foods and connected with the environment. At the closing performance, campers expressed their learnings through dance, song and drama. In their performance, they showed conflict between “family and school”, “love and sexual orientation”, as well as “others and oneself”.
At the start of the camp, campers felt at times lonely and doubtful. With support from teachers and volunteers, they grew confident in themselves and developed a voice. They learned to respect one another’s differences, and to work through conflicts to co-reach a common goal.
Volunteers Volunteers of the Gosh Creative Arts Camp were once all campers. Camp leader Lee Ji-tien, who was a camper in 2015, reflected on her own shyness in singing when she first entered the camp. With encouragement from her then team leader, she enrolled in vocal and drama lessons and overcame her fears.
Each year, return volunteers assume different roles. They pass on the spirit of the camp to new campers and gain energy from being with likeminded peers who share a love for performing arts. 2020 was the first year volunteers took the lead in coaching campers in their final performance. They learned to overcome the challenges of working with diverse personalities and preferences, and helped campers discover themselves and the world through performing arts.
Founded in 1988, Gosh Foundation aims to nurture and inspire youths to pursue their artistic dreams.