Jiangzicui Scenic Riverside Park’s Murals and Wetlands, Taipei

With Charlie Chaplin instead of Marilyn Monroe, the park’s parodic version of Marilyn Diptych by Andy Warhol

photography by: Omri Westamrk

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During the last couple of years, the New-Taipei city government has created a series of expansive parks as part of a citywide endeavor to boost the number of residents who engage in outdoor activities. Standing out among the newly-created green lungs is Jiangzicui Scenic Riverside Park, a sliver of riverfront which boasts manmade wetlands alongside dozens of whimsical murals inspired by famous Western paintings.

Protected Area

With water treatment facilities dotting its densely populated capital, Taiwan has been in the forefront of waste management for quite some time. Nestled along the Dahan River, at its confluence with the Xindian River, the Huajiang Wetlands might seem at first like a naturally formed enclave which miraculously escaped the capital’s relentless development. However, looks can be deceiving as this swampy area is part of the city’s highly-advanced means of processing raw sewage.


It all starts with a nearby purification plant which treats tons of domestic wastewater every day and then discharges the reclaimed water into the surrounding rivers. To further enhance its effectiveness, a series of wetlands was created along the southern banks of the Dahan River in 1999. Apparently, the artificial marshes are where an ample population of micro-organisms and plants decomposes any remaining pollutants the purified water might carry.


Planted with long-stemmed grass and sedges, the 13-hectare swamp has since rapidly evolved into a biodiverse habitat, home to multiple species of migratory birds, waterfowls and fish. While it is easy to forget that this piece of restored wilderness is right in the middle of a hectic metropolis, it is the gobs of residential towers just around the corner that remind visitors as to their true whereabouts. If you wish to explore the Huajiang protected area, take note that stray dogs occasionally roam the place, and so, a stick-like object to fend-off these critters could be helpful.

Eye-Catching Murals

In an era where sedentary lifestyle has become the norm, there are more and more initiatives, governmental and private alike, which try to reverse this growing trend. One such project was undertaken by the New Taipei City Government, which in recent years peppered the city with multiple verdant parks as a way to encourage local residents to be more physically active.


Wedged between a busy highway and the aforementioned wetlands, the Jiangzicui Scenic Riverside Park boasts expansive lawns, an esplanade, a couple of bicycle lanes, sports fields and perhaps most strikingly, around 30 vividly-colorful murals that adorn the otherwise nondescript wall which runs along the adjacent New Taipei Expressway.


The murals can be divided into three distinct categories. The first, located at the park’s easternmost portion, consists of reproductions of well-known Chinese paintings that resonate with Taiwan’s cultural heritage, most notably “a Thousand Li of Rivers and Mountains” by Wang Ximeng.

Situated around the sewage treatment plant’s waterway is a pair of 3D murals, one of which is a multi-colored work that merges with the site’s three discharge openings. The other comprises a fiberglass-made ape who hangs on a pipe amid a swarm of hot air balloons. This unusual art installation was inspired by the 1962’s kaiju film King Kong vs. Godzilla, where Japanese director Ishirō Honda stages an epic battle between the two monsters.


The third segment and possibly, the unrivaled centerpiece of the entire park, is a set of 15 murals or so, each of which pays homage to an internationally recognized masterpiece, albeit in a playful and whimsical style. The famous paintings were all reimagined with cartoonish characteristics, breathing new life into their timeless beauty.


The modified artworks include pizzas instead of clocks in Salvador Dali’s “the Persistence of Memory”, the replacement of the horse with a motorbike in Jacques-Louis David’s “Napoleon Crossing the Alps” or a Buddhist-style version of “the Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci, to name just a few.