If we burn
30" x 22"
Edition of 16
with collaborating printer Austin Armstrong at Tamarind Institute
The base image is a photograph depicting weapons confiscated during the Chiaopanien Incident in 1915 in Taiwan. The Chiaopanien insurrection against Japanese colonial rule was led by Yü Ch'ing-fang, Lo Chün, and Chiang Ting. Followers believed these leaders had supernatural powers, that they knew how to cast spells that would protect their followers from blades and bullets. Yü Ch'ing-fang believed he had a magic sword that could kill 30,000 of the enemy if he drew it out just 3 inches.
While the insurrection was being organized, it was discovered by Japanese police, which arrested many of those involved. In July and August, Yü Ch'ing-fang led his people in an attack, inflicting heavy casualties on the Japanese police and civilians. After hard fighting for 3 days and 3 nights, the rebels fled to the mountains. Afterwards, the Japanese killed several thousand men in the village of Chiaopanien in an event known as the "Chiaopanien Massacre," and they captured Yü Ch'ing-fang. Chiang Ting surrendered with his men, and the Japanese then reneged on their promise not to mete out punishment. Ultimately, 866 individuals were sentenced to the death penalty, and 453 were given prison sentences after being tried by the Tainan Provisional Court without due process.
The text from this image is borrowed from a banner hung during the 2019 Hong Kong uprisings.