The artistic depictions of Taiwan Romantic Route 3 by watercolor painter Lai Shi-rong (賴世榮) will be on display at Hsinchu County Museum of Art from Jan. 8 through Feb. 2. Hakka Affairs Council Minister Lee Yung-de attended the opening ceremony of the exhibition on Jan. 12. Minister Lee recalled that, as one of his colleagues at a newspaper firm many years ago, Lai was an intelligent and keen editor-in-chief who wrote many front-page headlines at that time. However, the minister was unaware that Lai was also an artist then. Instructed by renowned Hakka painter Xiao Ru-song (蕭如松) in high school, Lai pursued his interest in art by enrolling in the National Taiwan Academy of Arts (which is now known as National Taiwan University of Arts, 國立臺灣藝術大學). Upon graduating, Lai chose journalism instead of the arts, and embarked on a career that saw him work at 5 different newspapers in the United States. During that time, he often visited museums and art galleries with his children, and those cutting-edge creations always stirred up Lai’s heart and refueled his passion for painting. After retirement, Lai returned to his beloved hometown Zhudong Township in Hsinchu, a region where he never had a good chance to thoroughly observe since he left at the age of 19. Lai picked up his paintbrush again and remains devoted to the theme of Hakka settlements since. In February 2016, Lai’s first solo exhibition at the National Taitung Living Art Center liberated his artistic soul. During his stay in Taitung, Lai was visited by Minister Lee, who pledged support from HAC to help Lai continue his portraits of Taiwan Romantic Route 3. Since then, Lai has held numerous exhibitions across Taiwan. This year, to present Lai’s affection for his birthplace, 60 art pieces created by the dedicated artist were brought together for this exhibition to enhance viewers’ emotional connection with Hakka culture. More information can be found here.