HAPPENINGText: Eva Inman

A Room of Her Own: Powerful Women Spaces by Womany for the World Design Capital Taipei 2016

Womany, the world’s first Chinese-language feminist website, curated an exhibition as part of the World Design Capital Taipei 2016 that celebrated the new era of powerful and independent women in Taiwan. “The Powerful Women Spaces” exhibition, which was made up of three rooms in the primary colors of red, yellow, and blue to symbolize passion, creativity, and technology, ran from May 28th to June 10th, occupying the Mitsukoshi Xiangti Boulevard Plaza in the Xinyi District of Taipei City.

Womany “Powerful Women Space” Exhibition View © the Taiwan Design Center

The exhibition was inspired by the words of the celebrated writer, Virginia Woolf, who once wrote, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction”. Womany invited three influential female creatives to curate each room in an exploration of the concept of “Powerful Women”. In keeping with Woolf’s conviction in the importance of female self-determination and independence, the exhibition was a testament to the journey that contemporary women must take to love and celebrate themselves.

“We hope that visitors can feel the energy conveyed by love for themselves through this exhibition”, said Doris Qiu, Passion Adventurer of Womany. “The journey to loving oneself is a long one, and Womany’s goal is to help those people who are lost or lack self-confidence to find their direction and strength. Even those who have already started to learn to love themselves can still have greater confidence and courage going forward. When one woman has wings, then she can fly. When a group of women has wings, they can change the world. We hope that people, no matter if they are mothers, young women, girls, or even men, can find the courage of self-love and self-confidence together through this Powerful Women Space.”

Womany “Powerful Women Space” Exhibition Red Room, curated by Penny Tai © the Taiwan Design Center

Curated by Malaysian-Chinese singer and songwriter Penny Tai, the red room, representing passion, was shaped as a labyrinthine maze lined with mirrored walls upon which the singer’s lyrics were written. The concept of the room was “taking time to find a better version of oneself”. Tai observed that seeing her lyrics written on the walls “forced me to face up to my own emotions.” Visitors were encouraged to contribute by writing their own feelings onto the mirrored space and to reflect upon their relationship with their physical appearance and emotions. Tai also hid a personal note to her fans among the lyrics.

Womany “Powerful Women Space” Exhibition Yellow Room, curated by Gina Hsu © the Taiwan Design Center

The yellow room representing creativity was designed by renowned Taiwanese industrial designer, Gina Hsu, whose curation aimed to transform everyday experiences of life by inviting visitors to consider these experiences from a different perspective.

Hsu grew up in a converted hospital, which her family moved into following a devastating earthquake that hit Taiwan in 1999, and this space is now her design studio space and a constant source of inspiration. In the exhibition, Hsu gave medical devices a second life by placing them in a dining room setting. For example, a measuring jug was used as a coffee cup or a glass. This juxtaposition of a hospital theme, one which people usually consider as cold and morbid, with a dining room, a place of comfort and companionship, encouraged visitors to reconsider preconceived values.

Womany “Powerful Women Space” Exhibition Blue Room, curated by Everrich © the Taiwan Design Center

The room also featured an interactive wall, which was configured as an ”ask yourself and answer yourself” exercise: visitors were invited to solve their own internal or external problems. Hsu considered this an opportunity for visitors to better understand themselves, and appreciate that everybody has the chance to start over again.

The blue room was composed of a series of blue suitcases collected together under the concept of “traveling to get out of your comfort zone”. The space invited observers to consider the self-awareness, confidence, and independence that comes as a result of travel. Curated by duty free chain Everrich, the exhibition sought to remind people that whatever reason they go on holiday –whether it is to relax, to find inspiration in different cultures, or to reconnect with themselves– and no matter where they go, in the end, they will always yearn to return home.

The Powerful Women Spaces Exhibition
Date: May 28th – June 10th, 2016
Opening hours: 11:00 – 21:30 (Till 22:00 on Friday, Saturday and Holiday)
Place: Mitsukoshi Xiangti Boulevard Plaza
Address: No.19, Songgao Road, Xinyi District, Taipei
Organized by Womany
Supported by World Design Capital Taipei 2016

Text: Eva Inman

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