A Far Corner: Life and Art with the Open Circle Tribe by Scott Ezell

By Scott Ezell

In 2002, after residing ten years in Asia, American poet and musician Scott Ezell used his enhance from an area list corporation to maneuver to Dulan, on Taiwan’s distant Pacific coast. He fell in with the Open Circle Tribe, a unfastened confederation of aboriginal woodcarvers, painters, and musicians who lived at the seashore and cultivated a residing reference to their indigenous historical past. such a lot contributors of the Open Circle Tribe belong to the Amis tribe, that's descended from Austronesian peoples that migrated from China millions of years in the past. As a “nonstate” humans navigating the fraught politics of up to date Taiwan, the Amis of the Open Circle Tribe convey, for Ezell, the easiest features of existence on the margins, striving to create paintings and to stay self sufficient, unorthodox lives.

 

In Dulan, Ezell joined music circles and was once invited on a longer searching excursion; he weathered typhoons, had amorous affairs, and misplaced shut associates. In A a ways Corner Ezell attracts on those reviews to discover concerns on a extra worldwide scale, together with the multiethnic nature of recent society, the geopolitical courting among the U.S., Taiwan, and China, and the effect of environmental degradation on indigenous populations. the result's a fantastically crafted and private evocation of a worldly tradition that's virtually totally unknown to Western readers.

 

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Extra info for A Far Corner: Life and Art with the Open Circle Tribe

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Still, there was a residue of insight in this mini-fable. According to the story, what is prescribed for physical health by the doctor (that is, by linear objectivity, social authority) may not be good for one’s spirit— and alcohol, with its aspect of communal celebration or release, may be necessary for one’s spirit, even if it degrades the body. Siki poured out two mouthfuls of mijiu and handed one to me. We raised our cups and paused. Siki stared at me with all the gravitas he could muster. “Welcome,” he said.

Anyway, this idealized vision was being quickly eroded by the situation at hand. I had simply arrived here with the intention to live in the mountains above the sea, but without having ascertained whether such a thing was possible. Every place we passed was full of barking dogs and chicken coops, each apparently holding about a thousand chickens in a ten by ten box. Back down at the tangchang, Siki apologized for not being able to help me. I stepped out of his van, where he remained 26 the sugar factory as he answered a phone call.

Then his sternness flaked away, as usual, and he grinned, “. . unless you’re getting used to your tent down on the beach . ” Dou-dou and Ai-qin sat together talking and laughing, slap- ping each other’s knees. Dafeng sat silent and stoic, staring into the fire, and Zhiming sang snippets of melody beneath the splash and ebb of conversation. The apprentices stood off by themselves sharing a cigarette. Yiming, a woodcarver from the Puyuma tribe, was bearishly strong and broad, but affable and warm as Bacchus, with a childlike enthusiasm for life-as-play, however it manifested, however it appeared.

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