It’s the darkest of times, and the brightest of times.
“Ignite Taiwan - Taking Root and Taking Flight” is inspired by the movie Darkest Hour, which portrays British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during World War II. In Churchill’s darkest hour – with Hitler invading, a people in terror, and his political peers against him, Churchill stood firm in defense of Britain’s founding ideals, democracy and freedom. He united the nation and changed the course of world history.
The 2019 Republic of China New Year’s Day Flag-Raising Ceremony featured the theme: "Brave and Confident–One with the World." With the dandelion as its primary visual element, and “Taking Root and Taking Flight” as the theme of its large-scale landscape art, the ceremony conveyed the message that by shining bright in our own land, the people of Taiwan can take our dreams onto the world stage. “Taking Root and Taking Flight” is a symbol of the people of Taiwan taking bold flight toward our goals and challenging the world. It also resonates with both the "Brave and Confident–One with the World" theme and the leadership of President Tsai Ing-wen – bringing our people through the darkest of times, lighting up Taiwan, and gathering the nation for flight.
The creator used daytime and nighttime photos of the Presidential Office Building to represent the head of state working day and night to lead the people through oncoming obstacles. Like the beats of Feather Art of Drum and Dance based in Liangshan, Pingtung County, which won gold prize at the Tokyo International Percussion Competition, she instills confidence in people. The premises of the Presidential Office Building have transformed from a symbol of authoritarianism to an inclusive and friendly space for all sounds and voices. President Tsai Ing-wen and Vice President Chen Chien-jen also exhibit the rare quality of being highly approachable to the regular people: President Tsai welcomes children and families in need, parents and kids run freely through the Reception Hall inside the Presidential Office Building, Vice President Chen ducks under the table with a young boy to perform fire drills on National Disaster Preparedness Day. With the armed forces and the people standing together to light up Taiwan, the dark clouds over the Presidential Office Building are parted to reveal dazzling rainbows.
Over the past century, the Presidential Office Building has always been a symbol of political power. But after a century of democratization, power over this space has been returned to the people, to honor the spirit of “The People's Presidential Office.” Each of us can freely refashion the building’s image to suit local cultures. Each action to reshape our daily environment is an opportunity to define ourselves. And by shaping our environment, we shape our future.
Space is like time. Every day we live in it, move in it, and breathe in it. But space is never value-neutral or simply a backdrop for our activities. While it provides us with shelter, security and comfort, it also manifests social and cultural values, and psychological identities that are particular to a given time and place. This series of photos is meant to show viewers a different and more approachable Presidential Office Building.