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“The Archer,” Paulo Coelho’s book of wisdom and parable of courageous living, has been translated into 88 languages in 170 countries. It has sold over 320 million copies. The spirit of the book is the story of us all, searching not only for joy in the small things, but meaning in our existence.
The story suggests that “living without a connection between action and soul cannot fulfill, that a life constricted by fear of rejection or failure is not a life worth living. Instead, one must take risks, build courage, and embrace the unexpected journey fate has to offer.” It is a lesson that transcends cultures and geography. And yet, Coelho decided that each translation of the book should include illustrations that reflect the culture of the language. So, when he and his publisher were looking for an illustrator for the Chinese version, they sought images with a sense of ancient wisdom, something inspired by indigenous legends.
As this concept evolved, Tanivu Nota was living in a small village tucked away in the mountains of Alishan, Taiwan. Tanivu’s creative inspiration comes from centuries of myths and dreams passed on through oral storytelling tradition. A member of the Cou (or Tsou) tribe, she grew up on the origin legends of her people, a beautiful story of how the great maple tree shook its leaves, and as they drifted down, they became the Cou people.
Tanivu is driven to capture the history of her people in art, working in her verdant yet isolated village. But word of this kind of talent spreads quickly. Tanivu’s art was shown to Irene and Corbett Wall, who were launching art and technology projects in the indigenous regions of Taiwan. They introduced the work to the Chinese Times, and the work caught the attention of Coelho’s publisher.
Like the character in “The Archer,” Tanivu summoned the courage to step into the light and share her talents with the world. Her first commission was on the largest stage. She threw herself into the project, inspired by the story and her heritage. She created 24 stunning illustrations that capture the details of life when you pay close attention. Color and deft strokes carry you through the story like wind and waves, the natural elements where wisdom begins. Her illustrated edition of “The Archer” was released in May 2022.
It is when we stay true to ourselves and honor where we came from that we find the pathway that leads us to our dreams. Tanivu now dreams of traveling the world and meeting new friends. As her art precedes her in this journey, she will find that dream fulfilled.
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