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2016.10.19

TICA JOURNAL

Interview: Eval’s Moonlit Journey

Interview: Eval’s Moonlit Journey

Eval's Moonlit Journey: The artist discusses growing up with a shaman mother, Bunun's belief system, and how it influences her art.
Written by Eugenia P.G. 2016.10.19


"Can you pass your power to me?" the young girl asked.
"If you want this knowledge you need to find it in your dreams." Eval's mother said.
 
Now a woman, Eval shows her own power and knowledge on the Bunun's belief system thorough her paintings and most recently in her exhibition "Moon Tale".
 
Moon Tale is an exhibition in which the artist takes us on a journey to discover Indigenous Bunun Spirituality and conveys her interpretation of it.
 
Eval's spirituality was inherited from her shaman father and later nurtured by her dream healer mother. "She raised us with respect for all creations as she believed that all things have their consciousness. She also taught us that through certain rituals or prayer we were able to enter an inter-dimensional state of mind or vision for the purpose of helping and healing others."
 
She would say "There are big eyes up there that are watching you. So be good. You give, you take. You take, you give."   Those were  her teachings on the 'Law of Harmony'.
 
After the mysterious disappearance of her father in a mountain, Eval, her sisters and mother moved from her birthplace in Jade Mountain. (Yushan, the highest mountain in Taiwan)
It was during this time she was introduced to Christianity. In order to fit into dominant society, Eval mostly kept her background hidden to avoid being discriminated and labeled as 'mountain people'.
 
"Ancient Bunun People understood how to alter their consciousness to a subconscious state by prayers and dances for a spiritual awakening.  Those who were quick to judge this  quick damaged the true meaning of this ancient knowledge by labeling it as non-civilized and seen as naive practices. The worst part is that negative, biased and wrong information was added  into elementary school texts and higher education texts. It is until recent avalanches of protests, that these smears and defamatory texts have been removed from books."
 
Traditional Bunun beliefs are based on animism. Animism attributes a hanido (or soul) to plants, animals, inanimate objects and even natural phenomena. The strength of each hanido varies from object and living beings.
Humans are believed to have two hanidos, one in the right shoulder and one in the left. They are responsible for different behaviors. The left hanido tempts man with violence, greed and ire while the right hanido encourages man to be benevolent and care for others. Both hanidos are believed to have equal power and can be trained.
 
Moreover, the Bunun are one of the aboriginal tribes with the largest number of rituals, many of which were abandoned after the introduction of rice cultivation by the Japanese and Christianity.
 
"It took more than three decades to realize that going back to the essence of my initial teachings was the way back to my own skin.' It was in the quest for God, she discovered her True Essence . Eval started her journey as
an artist to get close to her spiritual Guides.
 
During her youth the talent and desire to create were there.
She smiles, remembering and then shares a story of the first painting she sold when she was 17, visiting Japan. " I saw a group of artists together at a restaurant, I approached them with my portfolio and one of them offered my first solo exhibition."
 
She describes her creative process as strong force inside of her, waiting to be unleashed.
"I don't sketch that much, mostly take colors that I am drawn to and see what happens."
It wasn't until 2012 when she lost her mother that she realized she had to answer her ongoing calling and bring Bunun's teachings to light, once again.

Her most recent work was inspired by dreams she had about her parents, telling her she needed to do something for her people. " I hadn't had an exhibit in ten years. I was inspired by  messages beyond space-time world and then it started to flow." 
The moon is paramount  for the Bunun People.  Eval discusses its importance and shares traditional moon tales with
her paintings. She remembers an occasion in which her mother and sisters walked her along a moonlit path, singing a song about the moon. "I was very young but it remains in me."

Mythological elements are very present in all the legends, the artist shares one she grew up hearing.
"On a very hot day a family forgot their baby son inside the house. It was so hot that the baby burned and turned into a lizard. The parents of course blamed the sun and so, the father shot it with an arrow. The splashing blood became the stars and the weakened sun became the moon.""All the traditional Bunun ceremonial rituals are held in particular phases of the moon. For this reason the moon is sacred and central to Bunun life", Eval also mentions.

Bunun People believe that agricultural and hunting activities are determined by the lunar cycle. The full moon symbolizes fulfillment of human life and rich harvest. Other phases of the moon usually mean transition and people use it as a symbol to clear out bad situations as soon as possible. The paintings for "Moon Tale", are vibrant and nature elements seem to blossom out of the paintings, harmonizing with human forms. 
The body of work transmits a message of coexistence and our connection to nature, this is imperative for the artist.
 
"The Bunun Tribe in Taiwan and other Indigenous Peoples have mutual perspectives about nature. We live in nature, take from nature and will eventually go back to it when we die. We are all part of the divine cycle of Nature. Even if humans have been segregated by color, geographical distance, religion and other things, we are all standing on Gaia, our Mother Earth who gives us her silent supportive love."
 
To respect nature and live in harmony with the Earth is the basic teaching of the Bunun belief system. This is something that Eval plans to keep on honoring with her art in years to come.


藝術家專訪:依法兒的月光之旅——薩滿家庭、布農信仰系統對其創作脈絡的影響
文:Eugenia P.G. 2016.08.09 

年輕的女孩問:「妳可以傳授妳的力量給我嗎?」
「妳得在夢中尋得這個知識。」依法兒的母親這麼說。

布農族女性藝術家依法兒瑪琳奇那,在最近的繪畫展覽《月兒說畫》中,展現了她在布農知識系統中學到的知識與能量。而《月兒說畫》這個展覽即是依法兒帶給觀眾的一趟旅程,向大家解說原住民的布農精神,以及依法兒她自己在其中的體悟。

依法兒的靈性傳承自她薩滿父親,並在她的夢巫母親的教育中成長。他提到,「母親教導我們要尊重所有的生命,因為她相信所有的事物都有它們的自主意識。她也跟我們說過,當要幫助或治療別人的時候,可以透過特別的祈禱儀式進入到思想或是視覺之後的內在維度。」依法兒曾說:「舉頭三尺有神明,所以一定要心存善念;有捨才有得、有得必有失。」這是她從和諧的法則中所學到的。

自從她爸爸在山裡離奇失蹤後,依法兒與她的姊姊、媽媽一同搬離他們的出生地,移居到玉山附近;她也是在這個階段開始接觸基督教的。為了適應主流社會的生活,依法兒因為不希望被貼上「山地人」的標籤,而盡量地隱藏她的成長背景。

「以前的布農族人懂得透過傳統儀式中的祈禱與舞蹈喚醒潛意識中的靈性。然而這些儀式卻在國民教育課本中,被以偏差且錯誤的認知,草率地斷論為不文明而且是一種土著的行為,嚴重地破壞了這種原始知識的真諦,直到一連串地抗議與原住民文化保存運動之後,這些毀謗性的偏差知識才從課本中移除。

傳統的布農信仰系統是建立在萬物有靈論中,也就是泛靈信仰,它即意味著萬物如植物、動物、甚至是無生命的物體或自然現象,都有其靈(魂)存在,且這些靈的力量也會隨著附駐的物件或生命體而有所改變。一般而言這個信仰系統中,相信人類擁有兩個靈,一個駐在右邊的肩膀上,另一個駐在左邊,祂們主掌不同的行為;左邊的靈會引起人類的暴力、貪婪與憤怒的傾向,而右邊的靈則會鼓勵人類向善,仁慈、並觀照他人。據信這兩個靈各自擁有制衡的力量,而且是可以鍛鍊的。

布農族可以說是所有台灣原住民族中具備最多儀式的其中一個民族,儘管如此,在基督教與日本人引進水稻栽培的文化後,很多儀式都因此被遺忘了。

「我花了超過30年才認知到,唯有重新認識我自己的膚色,才有辦法找到我的內在本質。」是在追尋上帝的過程中,依法兒才發現他自己最真誠的本質,也因此依法兒開始以一個藝術家的身份,盡可能地追尋、趨近這份精神引領。

而她對創作的渴望與天份,在她年輕的時候就已經展露無遺:依法兒笑著回憶她17歲在造訪日本時所賣掉的第一幅畫。「我在一間餐廳裡看見一群藝術家團體,我就把我的作品集給了他們,而其中一位藝術家甚至為我安排了一檔個展。」

依法兒描述著說,每當在創作的時候,她的心中彷彿有一股強大的力量蓄勢待發,她的創作過程中不太構圖的,而是隨著下意識的色彩安排再想像下一個步驟。

然而,當她母親在2012年過世的時候,她意識到她必須回應那些持續不斷、對自己的召喚,她必須再一次地把布農精神帶到世人面前。「我已經將近十年沒有辦過個展,可是我受到來自時空世界之外的訊息所啟發,然後它開始流動、運轉。」依法兒最近期的作品靈感,來自於某一次在夢中她的父母告訴她必須為自己的族人做一些事情。

依法兒提到,月亮對布農族而言是很重要的存在,他透過繪畫去闡述這些關於月亮在布農族中的傳說與故事;且她永遠記得,在小時候的一次祭典中她與母親、姊姊走在一條月光小徑上,唱著一首關於月亮的曲子,而這個久遠的經驗至今仍舊留在她的心中。

在布農族的傳說中很常見神話的元素,依法兒在這邊分享了一個她在成長過程中聽過的一個。「在以前曾經有過兩個太陽,日子非常的熱,有個家庭把小孩忘在家裡導致熱到燒起來,那小孩就變成了一隻蜥蜴。家長理所當然地指責太陽,並憤怒地用弓將其中一顆太陽射下來。那些從太陽噴濺出的血變成了星星,而受傷的太陽則變成了月亮。」

依法兒強調,所有的傳統布農慶典祭儀都是對應特定月相而舉行的,因為月亮對布農族人的生活而言是神聖的也是核心。布農族人相信農耕與狩獵的行動都取決於月球的週期;例如滿月象徵著人們生活上的滿足與豐收,其他的月相通常意味著過渡期,人們會用這段時間儘快地除弊祛穢。

在《月兒說畫》展覽中,在工作中的身體傳遞了與自然連結、共存的訊息,這對她而言是非常重要的,所以在依法兒的作品中作品的色彩非常活躍,自然元素與人在其中綻放。

在台灣,布農族部落與其他原住民對自然環境都有同樣的觀點;我們生活在自然環境中,取自自然、且最終會在死後回歸自然,我們是自然中神聖循環的一部份。儘管人類有種種如膚色、宗教、地理距離,甚至其他事物的隔閡,我們仍然仰賴蓋亞——地球之母給予我們她默默支持的愛。」

對環境的尊重與和諧,是布農信仰系統中的基本規則,這也是依法兒在她的藝術生涯中意欲維護的核心價值。

 
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