Uncovering a Hidden Artist Village in Taipei

July 21 2020, 12:56am

If you’ve followed my blog long enough, you probably know I love checking out the local art scene. You probably also know that Taiwan has a history of turning old developments into fresh, creative spaces. Not surprisingly, when I read about an artist village near Gongguan Night Market (台北公館夜市 / tai bei gong guan ye shi), Treasure Hill, I knew I wanted to experience the location first-hand.

Back in Taipei and with the urge to check out Chen San Ding, I took the opportunity to head farther south to Treasure Hill Artist Village (寶藏巖國際藝術村 / bao zang yan guo ji yi shu cun) to check out how a squatter community turned into a artistic community.

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To get to Treasure Hill, you can get off at Gongguan Station and cut through the alley way, due west to Tingzhou Road (汀州路 / ting zhou lu). From this street, continue south on it. You should see a Mala Hot Pot on the left side of the street and a mostly empty area on the right side with a road leading up a hill.

Take this winding road up, past a taxi station. If you see murals like this, you’re on the right track.

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Eventually, you’ll see a temple (寶藏巖觀音亭 / bao zang yan guan yin ting). This temple is a part of the artist colony, that spans dozens of buildings, multiple levels and half levels.

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The location is a little inconspicuous at first.

It looks like you’re entering into someone’s home, with people, young and old playing outside. As the community is a space where artists (and their families) both live and work, don’t be surprised to get this feeling. There are signs posted around, alerting about different galleries and the direction they’re in.

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After walking up a long and narrow stairway, we saw our first glimpse of a gallery. Walking to the top of this stairway, we found more signs, a map, and even an information kiosk that provides information about how to get around the dizzying array of buildings.

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From here, we ultimately decided to wander around and let the art guide us.

Here is some of what we saw while wandering up and down the steps of Treasure Hill.

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I wonder what the story is here, about the paper, eagles, and work.

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As this is a live and work space, it was cool seeing how different houses even used the roofs of their homes to decorate.

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This is an example of a gallery. You can tell by the sign and the number on the door. Signage is written in English and Zhongwen.

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There was this poster up advertising an exhibit currently going on. I think it was featuring mythological creatures and monsters? I’m not entirely sure.

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Some places look like they might be galleries, but the lack of number and signage suggest some of these homes are probably not.

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The architecture of the space is still super fascinating though. It’s amazing to see how so much of the space was developed and just how it was developed beyond this.

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I love this bear mural. The details on this piece of art are amazing.

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More interesting compositions. This one included clouds on a window with bromeliads in front.

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Climbing up Treasure Hill Artist Village, you can actually get pretty high up. This was the view from towards the middle of the community. Note: that we’re higher than the nearby expressway.

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There was a patio where a few people were doing a fashion photo shoot.

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Here’s the entrance to another gallery. The cute bears in front were the attraction here.

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For there being so many galleries, we didn’t go into too many of them. As we visited Treasure Hill on a week day, there weren’t as many galleries open as there are on the weekend.

Still, we did manage to stumble into the mythological creature gallery.

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Needless to say, it was kind of creepy…

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Even for my taste.

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The view from the top of Treasure Hill was super nice with a view of the Xindian River.

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On the other side of the river is New Taipei City.

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There were these large fortune cookies outside.

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Couldn’t resist taking a photo with them.

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The stories that these buildings could tell… I’m sure they would be voluminous and deep.

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After reaching this point, we turned back around and headed back towards the temple where we arrived from.

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It really feels like every part of this community has been lovingly designed.

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Not sure what this display was about, but it looked cool.

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On the ground floor, we decided to take a stroll closer to the river. Here, we uncovered a series of courts with walls that had a variety of street art on them.

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This wall had mushrooms graffitied on it.

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I have not clue what this says but it looks so well designed.

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I can see why so many people enjoy Treasure Hill Artist Village. It’s an artistic experience that is uniquely Taiwanese.

After you’ve finished grubbing on some amazing food nearby Gongguan and National Taiwan University, check out Treasure Hill and get your fill of Taiwanese art culture.

寶藏巖國際藝術村 (Treasure Hill Artist Village)

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