The Mountain Fragrant Winds by Etan Pavavalung

Artist in Residence

Etan Pavavalung

Paiwan artist, Etan Pavavalung, was born into the Tavadran tribe of Dashe village, Sandimen town in Pingtung County in Taiwan. He grew up in the renowned Pulima artisan family and was immersed in Paiwan life where traditional arts and culture are showcased everywhere. This environment would also set the tone for his future art creations. When studying at the Yushan Theological College and Seminary and the Tainan Theological College and Seminary, Etan was inspired to contemplate on philosophy and religious art. Besides writing poems and prose, he is also the director of several documentaries excelling at imagery poetry. Moreover, Etan has also been learning and keeping records on the Paiwanese mouth-blown and nose flutes, which led to the Ministry of Culture designating him as a cultural ambassador of the traditional performing arts. His innovative art form, “Trace Layer Carve Paint”, has become the signature feature of his artwork.

Etan’s creative art is deeply embedded in his subjectivity about his Indigenous culture, and his reflections on society and the eco system. During the “Return Our Lands” and “Regain Our Names” Indigenous movements in the 1990’s, Etan took the lily flower, the token of his tribe’s spirit, and started represented the lily on posters and T-shirts in the hope of strengthening identity. He now excels at presenting the multiple cultural imagery and depictions of the Indigenous Taiwan lily. Through personified visual movements, he creates harmony between humanity and the natural eco system. The aesthetic concept behind his mother culture, “Vecik” (lines, patterns and words), nourishes his exploration in arts performance. In 2009, Etan took gravers to be his pens and wood board as his canvas, and created “Trace Layer Carve Paint” as his anchor in terms of technique and form in the visual arts. “Trace Layer Carve Paint” shows the “trace” that the creator leaves on nature and the earth, and the civilized texture that is piled up in the “layers” of Aboriginal stone slab houses in Taiwan. Etan “carves” down deep into the cultural spirit, “paints” and widen artistic possibilities.

Etan has participated in numerous important exhibitions, such as THE 10TH ASIA PACIFIC TRIENNIAL OF CONTEMPORARY ART 2021, Art-Taipei 2018; “A Beast, a God, a Line”, an international joint exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw; opening animation design for Taipei’s 2017 Universiade, the “Vibrant Island, Psalm of Life”; resident artist at Charles Darwin University, Australia; “Encounter in that End of the Forest” represented Taiwan as the Director in Focus at the 2017 Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival; resident artist in d’abord les forêts… / opus 2; “Taiwan Biennial: Yes, Taiwan!”. His solo exhibitions include “Reading Sa-qati”, NCTU Art Center, Hsinchu, Taiwan; “Gazing at Taiwan Lily”, Chung-Shan National Gallery, 2017; “Encounter, in that End of the Forest”, Providence University, Art Center, 2014; “The Fragrant Mountain Winds”, Taipei Fine Arts Museum. Outside of developing his own artwork, Etan has also been joint curator of the Greater Sandimen Arts Festivals. He is one of the key coordinators in promoting the greater Sandimen contemporary arts.

Read Etan’s Poetry for the images featured on our website here


The images featured on this site have been identified and curated by the artist as being reflective of transformation. View the full images of Etan’s work featured on this site below (click to enlarge):