Cambridgeshire artist Ebu Estandar: painting as a form of therapy
Ebu Estandar, a Taiwanese artist living in Linton, is displaying her work at the village’s Gallery Above.
A member of the Bunun and Zhou tribes of Taiwan, Ebu has lived in the UK since 2011, having previously resided in Cuernavaca, Mexico, from 2004. Ebu’s background and her time spent in Taiwan, Mexico and the UK has greatly influenced her art.
Growing up in the small village of Namaxia high in the mountains of Taiwan, Ebu – whose Chinese name is Jui Yu Sun – left at the age of 16 to attend school in Tainan, where she studied interior design. She said: “I enjoy painting because it’s like therapy. I feel good when I’m painting and in touch with myself.”
Ebu has been painting for more than 20 years and has enjoyed depicting her “Taiwanese tribal story”, among other things, through her work. “My husband’s English and I hadn’t painted much in England,” she said, “but now I want to connect here, I want to know the culture.
“Ten years ago, I didn’t speak English at all. I always paint what I feel and I didn’t paint in the UK before because I didn’t ‘feel’ it, because I don’t come from here. But I’ve got in touch with the nature here and have started painting Linton. We go to see nature – everything changes, every day.”
Looking at some of Ebu’s paintings, one can clearly see the Mexican influence, in terms of content and an explosion of colour. “My favourite artist is Frida Kahlo,” she revealed. “I love salsa music, the colours the culture – I even miss Mexico more than Taiwan because the spirit and the culture is so rich, and people are so nice. You live for the moment – there’s not so much worry.”
Ebu says that her indigenous culture in Taiwan has more in common with Mexico than ‘mainstream’ Taiwan. She met her husband in Taiwan when he was there learning Chinese. One reason the couple left Mexico was due to the rising levels of violence at that time in Cuernavaca.
One of Ebu’s current project is a series of nature-related paintings under the banner “Nature does not discriminate”, and she has also written a children’s book. “I’m very busy but I enjoy it,” she said. “Also I’m doing lots of gardening – I love gardening.”