Past and present at Treasure Hill
McHale Translated by River Chen
Treasure Hill, in ZhongZheng
Riverside Park, is arguably the most eccentric
neighborhood in Taipei. It is home to the
historic Treasure Shrine for GuanYin, Goddess
of Mercy. The original temple is almost 300
years old and is located inside the newer
temple built around and over it. Since the
1950s it has been a squatter community, with
residents from all over Asia and Taiwan. The
diversity of languages still spoken there
didn't stop the residents from building a
hive of houses from salvaged materials on
the hill. It is Taipei's last example of organic
architecture and September is your last chance
to see it before the city begins renovations.
The Organization of Urban
Re-s (OURs) manages Treasure Hill for the
Bureau of Cultural Affairs. They run an artist
residency program, a small bookstore and a
crafts market, among other tasks. The residency
program has seven artists, including Spring
Scream organiser Jimi Moe and Yeh Li Wei.
Li Wei, a photgrapher, has lived on Treasure
Hill for three years documenting the community.
He is prominent in the Taipei art scene and
currently is in two shows at Taipei Fine Arts
Museum. He co-runs the Treasure Hill Tea and
Photo House at the top of the hill. They have
an ongoing art installation, gatherings and
rooftop readings every other week.
The crafts market has a variety
of handmade bags, cards, jewelry and other
items. Some are even free. One stall, Contact,
makes paper pulp products and will give you
a free pencil made from paper if you draw
the owner. For food, don't miss the rice noodles
prepared by Mrs. Chen, the neighborhood chief
and a 50-year resident.
Mina's Treasure Hive is Treasure
Hill's cafe. Mina serves fresh juice, tea
and coffee, beer and snacks. The cafe features
live music and art exhibitions. They also
lend frisbees, skates, basketballs and other
items for enjoying the park--contributing
to the Hill's laid-back community atmosphere.
Treasure Hill is at the end of Lane 230, DingZhou
Road in GongGuan. Upcoming events listed in
Arts & Culture What's On.