Taiwan’s gov’t will host an exhibition on betel nut babes.

The National Taiwan Arts Education Institute in Taipei will hold an art exhibition titled “Taiwan’s Betel Nut” at its premises in Taipei August 19-September 13, featuring dozens of installations created by artist Wu Chiung-hua over the past decade. All of the works in this retrospective show are on the theme of “Binlang Xishi” or “betel nut beauties” — young women scantily clad to attract male customers to their roadside betel nut vending kiosks in locales across the island.

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In preparation for her creative work on the theme of binlang beauties, the artist spent two years interviewing and photographing more than 100 of them, also collecting samples of their clothing and ornaments. Her motivation, she has explained, was not to make any narrowly positive or negative overall judgment. Rather, she has attempted to faithfully portray this social phenomenon from different angles to help reveal its multiple psychological and social dimensions and, more importantly, to provide a touchstone for her audience to better understand themselves.