Maja Nydal Eriksen (DK) "Awaiting the Bridge" - Helphoto 2023




Awaiting the Bridge 
“I’m delighted to stand today on the frontline of the motherland. I hope that our mainland compatriots can have the same democracy and freedom that we have. I wish everyone good health. And Long Live Democracy!”– propaganda message by Taiwanese diva Teresa Deng, aimed across the water from the Island of Quemoy, Taiwan to the city of Xiamen, China.

Quemoy means the “Golden Door” in Chinese. It is a small island controlled by Taiwan, but so close to mainland China that you can see its shoreline. Historically, Quemoy has struggled to maintain a delicate power balance between Taiwan, the United States and China. For years the island was a Taiwanese defense outpost and the military maintains its presence.

Everywhere there are reminders of a turbulent past between the two countries that once fought a civil war. But with tensions at relative lows in 2016, an agreement was made to build a bridge between Quemoy and Lieyu Island, China. This decision has left the citizens of Quemoy conflicted about becoming a ”Peace Experimental Zone”, between China and Taiwan. In 2017, during a time of reasonable relative optimism, I engaged a local school in interpreting the tensions, hopes and fears of the local citizens. While awaiting the bridge, we sought out to explore the contradictory feelings of being in a place between peace and war and the need to reconnect and overcome past trauma, while being alert and prepared for possible future conflict.

Maja Nydal is a photography-based visual artist. Her practice explores participatory forms of representation. She uses photography as a tool of emancipation through which different kinds of citizenship and community can be enacted. Maja’s work often renegotiates media representations by working with the people in question on an alternative storyline. This process goes far beyond creating images and including workshops, educational programs and live storytelling by the participants. To get a large audience engaged, her exhibition sites include, city halls, libraries, cultural centers, outdoor locations, museums and art halls. 

Maja Nydal Eriksen (DK) "Awaiting the Bridge" - Helphoto 2023
Maja Nydal Eriksen (DK) "Awaiting the Bridge" - Helphoto 2023