The Voice of Kaishu: a typographic journey

On Wednesday 14 September 2022, Wai-te-ata Press, Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington will launch a six-week public exhibition - 「楷書: 字體源流之旅」The Voice of Kaishu: a typographic journey - tracing the history and use of kaishu, or regular script, in Taiwan and New Zealand.

Language becomes visible through letterforms. This exhibition will foreground the place of typography in Taiwanese culture and enliven conversations around hanzi types in New Zealand history, society, and culture.

In Taiwan, letterpress fonts used for everyday expression belie deep cultural roots. One of these fonts, kaishu, was adopted in the early twentieth century as the de facto face of Taiwan and its people. Kaishu was also the font of choice for the Dominion Federation of New Zealand Chinese Commercial Growers in their publication The New Zealand Chinese Growers Journal, the de facto voice of the New Zealand Chinese community in the mid-twentieth century.

The exhibition will be accompanied by public programmes including screenings of the documentary film Hanzi, letterpress workshops with local communities and masterclasses for designers and design students. Details are to be confirmed—find us on Instagram @waiteatapress

This event is generously supported by the Ministry of Culture in Taiwan.