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In August, 2011 the University of Minnesota School of Art exhibited the work of seven photographers from mainland China: Chen Yuan Zhong, Hua Er, Jia Yu Chuan, Li Nan, Yang Yan Kang, Yu Haibo, and Zhang Xinmin. Each photographer undertook the creation of a long-term documentation of one or more aspects of Chinese culture that he or she felt reflected something vital about China now—whether that was something emerging or something vanishing.
Collectively, these photographers have numerous publications, exhibitions, and awards to their credit, but little of their work has appeared outside mainland China. None of these projects had yet been seen in the west.
The exhibition organizational structure moved from the rural scene to the metropolitan context, echoing developments in China today. Their themes included rural Catholicism, matrilineal culture in an agrarian setting, the population shift from country to city, prostitution, gender and identity, typologies of urban citizenry, and the emergence of a thriving pop music/club scene as an index of internationalization.
In conjunction with the China Insights Exhibition, student photography was featured in the exhibit Transitions: Collaborative Photo Exhibit for Minnesota and Chinese High School Students
The theme of the exhibition is “Culture in Transition.” Students had the opportunity to present photographs of their own cultures in transition. Sub-themes can be family/personal life, community, and rural and urban areas. Chinese students at partner schools were also invited to submit photographs for the exhibition, creating an opportunity for dialogue between schools on the changes the students observe in their own cultures.
The exhibition ook place August 2-26, 2011 at the Katherine E. Nash Gallery.