Etan Pavavalung was born to a Paiwan family of art in Davalan Tribe, Pingtung. The name “Etan” was inherited from his maternal grandfather, which is an ancient name of Paiwan meaning “a brave man”. The family name “Pavavalung” refers to the earthly home he was born to, which is also the home Etan’s father inherited.
Etan was often taken by his parents to the field to work and pick vegetables and lilies when he was little. The image of being with the Nature was imprinted onto his mind. He is convinced that the farther the mankind is away from the Mother Nature, the stronger desire humans possess to recollect and retrace its beauty and the innocent value it has brought to the humanity. That is the philosophical context of Etan’s rich, mysterious creativity.
The art creations of Etan are diverse, ranging from poetry, prose, reportage, painting, print, carving, advertisement design, installation, and documentary. His artworks are delicate and poetic, full of quaintly mysterious imagination. Faith is the compass at the bottom of Etan’s heart. When Etan was receiving theological education, the contemplation of “way” changed his attitude toward life, and helped him acquire the power devoted to the awareness and awakening of his people.
The Wild Lily student movement and the indigenous movement back in the 1980s were the critical period that influenced Etan’s creative style. During the indigenous movement that appealed for the returning of the homeland in the contemporary context, the indigenous patterns and the lily emblem appearing on publications, posters, and T-shirts were created by Etan. He believed that the hope of the indigenous peoples lies in the enlightenment of humanity and arts at the grass root level. Therefore, the lily emblem and spirit of his people are utilized as the base of creation, becoming the new symbol for redemption as well as resurrection.