Environmental activist and artist Vincent J. F. Huang will represent Tuvalu at the 2017 Venice Biennale. Aida Yuen Wong is the curator for the Tuvalu pavilion, the theme of which is “Viva Arte Viva.” Tuvalu is the only Pacific Island nation participating in the upcoming Biennale.
The pavilion will function as the nucleus for an international social sculpture Huang calls the Global Interactive Program, which will come to life via on- and offline projects structured to rouse people into thinking more critically about the global climate crisis. A self-sufficient fishing community occupied by a little less than ten thousand people, Tuvalu, according to the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change, is expected to suffer profoundly from rising sea levels.
Huang taught in the department of visual communication design at Shu-te University in Kaohsiung from 2001 to 2006, and he has been an artist-in-residence at the Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art and ARTSPACE in Australia, among other institutions. He has exhibited work at the 2013 and 2015 Venice Biennales. His piece for Tuvalu in the 2015 Biennale, Crossing the Tide, “project[ed the viewer] into a catastrophic scenario . . . Visitors to the pavilion [were] forced to traverse the space via footbridges that [were] semi-submerged in water, made from a sturdy and flexible material . . . [used] to build raised walkways during high-water emergencies,” according to the magazine Domus.