Mixed media, single-channel video 3'25," and three traditional men’s rear open pants with embroidery

Courtesy of the artist

During the colonial era, the African giant snail (Achatina fulica) migrated from East Africa to Asia, arriving in Taiwan around the 1930s. Since then, it has become both an invasive species that endangers Taiwanese agriculture and the main ingredient of a popular night market dish of sauteed escargot. Once a source of food in poor Taiwanese households, snails remain on the dining tables of Taiwanese Indigenous people to this day. Chang En-Man, who is Indigenous herself, created this series of works to examine the implications of history, culture, class, and culinary taste in food. In Snail Paradise: Preface, an African giant snail crawls slowly, leaving a trail of slime that traces its historical trajectory across Taiwan. Chang borrows from patterns found on male trousers in Pacavali – her mother’s homeland – and designs embroidery totems based on the plants used in snail cuisine, creating a transcription of local and global historical episodes.

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