Taiwan’s biggest shipping company gives back to society through art

The Chang Yung-Fa Foundation under Evergreen Group launched an Art Season. The festival has just kicked off in September in Taipei where a series of cultural events will be held in the following months. This is how one of the world’s largest shipping companies commits to corporate social responsibility and fosters social values.

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The Chang Yung-Fa Foundation.
The Chang Yung-Fa Foundation.

Evergreen Group is one of the most renowned corporations in Taiwan founded by Chang Yung-Fa in 1968. The group owns Taiwan’s largest shipping company – Evergreen Marine Corporation – which ranks the sixth largest in the world with a market value of NTD 337.57 billion (US$106.53 billion). Its business footprints are found all around the world, in Asia, Europe, the Mediterranean, North America and the other transatlantic ocean markets. 

Last year, one of the largest container ships, Ever Given, operated by Evergreen Marine, was stuck in Egypt’s Suez Canal for almost a week, damming up worldwide shipping and disrupting global supply chains. This incident froze nearly US$10 billion in trade a day. One can imagine how huge the shipping business is and the impact it has on the world. 

But only focusing on the financial side is not the best way to do business in today’s world as social accountability and making a positive impact on society are also significant. That is the reason why the Chang Yung-Fa Foundation was established by the founder of Evergreen Group in 1985.

The list of cultural events launched in the “2022 Art Season of the Chang Yung-Fa Foundation”. 

Chang Yung-Fa Foundation: 2022 Art Season kicks off in Taipei

The “2022 Art Season of the Chang Yung-Fa Foundation” was officially unveiled in September, bringing together the three major cultural brands of the foundation: the Evergreen Symphony Orchestra, the Evergreen Maritime Museum, and the magazine “Morality Monthly”.  The Art Season will also see the launch of 30 free cultural events from September to October for the public, including concerts, special exhibitions, lectures, children’s musicals, painting competitions, city day trips, etc. 

Maritime exhibits in the museum.

The foundation works to “bring art into the life of all people and create a culturally sustainable society” as Executive Director Chung De-Mei said in the press conference. The foundation also invited the College of Innovation of the Taipei University of Marine Technology to design the fish-shaped logo for the Art Season, which symbolizes navigation in the sea of art. 

A boat replica.

Among all the cultural events, two special exhibitions were first launched in the foundation’s Evergreen Maritime Museum, namely “The Great Voyage of Taiwanese Plants” and “Lee Chien-Lang’s Solo Exhibition” on paintings of ancient architecture”.

Visitors at the exhibition “The Great Voyage of Taiwan Plants”. 

Practicing corporate social responsibility via education

Maritime Fairtrade visited the museum and joined the free guided tour on  September 21. The visitors, who joined the tour, included not only the general public but also the employees of Evergreen Group, as a part of internal training. 

The special exhibition “The Great Voyage of Taiwan Plants”, which was curated by Seed Design, is located on the fourth floor of the museum. It takes Taiwanese plants as the protagonists, explores their sources and combines the history of navigation to introduce the plants that appear and used in ordinary Taiwanese’s life. 

Through interactive installations, fragrances, lightings, paintings and animations, the diversities of plants are presented and immersive experience is created. The museum also invited the Taiwan Forestry Bureau and the Forestry Research Institute to serve as the guiding units in order to offer accurate content.

The guide talks about responsible forestry. 

The guide shared “I have never been so close to Taiwan plants before this exhibition. Some plants came first and some later. Just like the people on this island,” and he also said, “There have been three versions of present theories about the spread of the Austronesians. One is the Taiwan Homeland Theory, another is the Mainland China Origin Hypothesis, and the last one is the Indochina Peninsula Origin Hypothesis. And it is exactly the investigation in the species of plants and their moving trajectories which help support the theories.”

The workers of Café Hatsu, the coffee shop of Evergreen Maritime Museum, also joined the guided tour that day. They touched the seeds of the plants happily and tried to feel their texture. One of them said to Maritime Fairtrade that, “I always have this (Coix chinensis Tod.) on my dishes but I never know how it looks originally.”

Visitors touch the plants’ seeds.

Meanwhile, “Lee Chien-Lang’s Solo Exhibition”, which is on the third floor of the Museum, displays 37 drawings by the famous Taiwanese architect Prof. Lee Chien-Lang, who has witnessed the historical development of the landmark architectures that are highly related to Taiwan’s rivers and seas. All his works reflect the interaction of the Taiwanese with the waters for almost 400 years. 

Visitors at “Lee Chien-Lang’s Solo Exhibition”. 

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All photos credit: Patricia Cheung. Top photo: Replica of a ship.

Patricia Cheung

Patricia Cheung

Patricia, our correspondent based in Taiwan, is always on her way to explore the island and works to tell interesting stories about it.

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