Category Archives: Images

[Controversy] Chinese museum accused of racism over photos pairing Africans with animals

People are going crazy over this: A museum in China has removed an exhibit this week that juxtaposed photographs of animals with portraits of black Africans, sparking complaints of racism.

Wang Yuejun, one of the exhibit’s curators, said that comparisons to animals were typically seen as a compliment in Chinese culture, pointing to the zodiac signs that identify people with animals according to their birth year.

“The target audience is mainly Chinese,” Wang said in a statement. But the museum understood the images offended “our African friends” and the pictures were removed to show respect for their concerns, Wang added.

Read here the full article from Benjamin Haas (note: it’s The Guardian)

Some online reactions

 

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[Photography] Africans pursuing the Chinese Dream in Guangzhou

As every summer for the last 5 years, media comes again with a story of how Africans pursue their dream in the southern Megalopolis of Guangzhou.

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Beginning in May, Liang Yingfei spent four months photographing Xiaobei Road in Guangzhou, which houses the largest African community in China. A series published in three parts, the first parts focuses on Serges de la Roche, who goes by the Chinese nickname Xiaolong (Little Dragon). A Togolese businessman who has lived in China for nearly 10 years, Xiaolong has been selling a wide variety of goods—from diesel generators to gadgets—to customers in Africa. Due to the increased difficulty in obtaining a Chinese visa, he was planning to return to Togo with his Chinese wife and their two Chinese-born children. The second part of Liang’s series looks at the effect of China’s recent economic slowdown on African businesspeople and students in Guangzhou, while the final part is a collection of portraits of Africans in Guangzhou

[Photography] Portraits of Africans in Guangzhou capture what may be the last days of China’s “Chocolate City”

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By Daniel Traub for Quartz Africa

On a pedestrian bridge in Guangzhou, on a summer evening in 2009, I came upon Wu Yong Fu—a man in his early thirties who worked on the bridge. Cradled in his left hand was a simple digital camera; his right hand held a placard made up of various photographic portraits laminated in plastic. As people walked by, he would sidle up and cajole them to have their picture taken. Wu emanated a kind of wistful charm that served him well for attracting customers.

This was not my first time on the bridge. In 2005, while photographing in Guangzhou, I came upon an area known as Xiaobeilu (Little North Road). Its crumbling old structures abutted modern glassy towers, while its narrow alleys bordered a vast, elevated highway system. The pedestrian bridge allowed safe passage over the arterial road that ran through the area. Wanting the highest perspective possible, I walked up the stairs onto the bridge. An immediate sense of openness, light and expanse could be felt. [Keep reading here]

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[Photography – Art] Little North Road – 小北路: exploring the social life and economies of a pedestrian bridge in Guangzhou

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LITTLE NORTH ROAD

Little North Road is a photographic exploration of the people and activities found on a pedestrian bridge in an ethnically diverse quarter of Guangzhou, China. Guangzhou has become a magnet for internal Chinese migrants, Middle Easterners and Africans who have come in search of opportunity and to trade in the goods produced in the Pearl River Delta – “the world’s factory.”

In recent years, the bridge, which arches over a major road bisecting the area, functioned as vibrant public space with dual roles. By day, people came to meet, linger, and gaze out onto the city, all the while suspended above the tumult below. At night, the bridge transformed into a frenetic outdoor market which brought foreigners and Chinese migrants together.

Since late 2014, however, following the Ebola crisis, the number of foreigners, particularly those from Africa, has decreased substantially, and due to police presence, entrepreneurial activity on the bridge has diminished. In certain respects, the life on the bridge, can be seen as an index, reflecting not only China’s changes but also Beijing’s shifting attitude towards these migrant populations and the informal economies that they engender.

The book will include Daniel Traub’s photographs taken on the bridge and surrounding area between 2010-2014. Additionally, it will incorporate a selection of images collected from two Chinese itinerant portrait photographers that Traub encountered on the bridge: Zeng Xian Fang and Wu Yong Fu. Equipped with digital cameras, these two photographers have made a living offering their services to passersby, primarily Africans, who wanted a souvenir of their time in Guangzhou. As they were producing the images solely as a means of survival, they would delete them at the end of each day. Since 2011, however, Traub has been collecting the images and creating an archive that now numbers over 20,000.

As China’s power and reach have grown, it has become a new center of gravity pulling people from remote lands. The bridge has been, in a sense, a symbolic gateway for this flow of people. Recent developments, however, call into question whether this cosmopolitanism is an inevitable part of China’s future or if it represents a moment that has already passed.

The book will contain approximately 150 color plates, and essays by Barbara Pollack, Roberto Castillo and Daniel Traub. The book will be edited by Robert Pledge and Daniel Traub and designed by Masumi Shibata. It is scheduled to be published by Kehrer Verlag in November 2015 in Europe and Spring 2016 in the US.

[Photography] How a little bridge in Guangzhou connects China & Africa