Hidden Land -- Shangjuanzu Villagers and Artists' Image Experiment
The Exhibition is the result of an experimental visual art program. At the symposium of the Second National Peasants’ Photograph Exhibition organized by China Photographers Association, an initiative of “finding the real perspective of a peasant” was raised by scholars and experts. A program of parallel expression joining artsts with villagers through video work is then launched.
Shangquan is a group of families of Yangzhuang Village, belonging to Shagou Township under the Xiji County of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. The village is listed for ecological migration. The whole population is to be moved out of the mountains to the flatlands in 2013.
Over 80 critics, theorists, photographers, artists, film directors, peots and writers came tothis village one group after another between December 2012 and March 2013. They worked together with 29 villagers to create a series of visual documentation and expressions. All participants were free to record anything.
No thematic preset was given. The 2,000 works shown in the exhibition include the very emotional documentation of the village that is about to become memory by the peasants, many of whom operated a camera for the first time in their life. There are as well dedicated works of many professional artists from different backgrounds. This is a collective depiction and multi-dimensional visual documentary of the specific living conditions of the common people in a time of social changes.
The oldest participant of the 29 villagers is 64 years old, while the youngest is a child of 4. These villagers are, to name several: Li Wenzhong, Li Huangying, Ma Wenyou, Ma Cuiping, Ma Shenghua, Ma Wen, Li Jinmei. And the artists include Wang Rui, Suo Jiulin, Xie Hailong, Chen Xiaobo, Zang Ce, Wang Zheng, Yuan Dongping, Xu Zhiqiang, Yan Ming, Sun Yanchu, Liu Miaomiao, Wu Ang, Xie Qiongzhi, Hai Yang, Sun Yanyong, Bai Dongquan.