First published: Fall 2004
Thirty years ago, the media in Taipei began reporting how an ordinary old man from a fishing village had become an extraordinary painter. The legend of his paintings, naïve and lovable – though deeply mysterious and sometimes hard to understand – caused excitement and debate in Taiwan. Hong Mi-Jen tells the legendary story.
Hung Tung was born in 1920, in a small fishing village near Tainan, in the south of Taiwan. The land was poor and people’s lives were very hard.
Hung Tung’s father was dead when he was born and his mother died when he was four. With no money in the family he could not go to school, and began working at a very young age, keeping cows, carrying water, doing any small job to earn money.
At 17 or 18 he left the village to find a job in Kaohsiung, the biggest city in South Taiwan. He went back to the village in 1945, after the island was handed over by Japan to China. He married and had three sons and two daughters, but continued to rely on small jobs in the village to earn a living and support his family.
This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #48