Africans in China by Daniel Traub (Video)

Jan 22, 2014 • China, Curator's NotesNo Comments

One of the perks of working with akatasia.com, is the fact that I have been able to meet a lot of interesting people doing amazing and extraordinary things.

Last summer, I met Nenah Ada Yang, a twenty-something year old Sierra Leonean Artist based in China.
Since her move to Beijing three years ago, Nenah was catapulted into a life that made her a public figure overnight. She married one of China’s biggest and most prolific artists Yang Yan, and her association with him had brought about critics and admirers alike – many scrutinizing her motives with a man more than twice her age.

unnamedTheir union was and still is frown upon and even at one point pushed Nenah to question whether she wanted to stick it out or return to Freetown and call it a day.

Today, I would consider the Yang’s friends. Their recent trip to New York sealed the deal and allowed us to meet up and have more conversations about China and Art.

Back in Beijing, Nenah is changing the way the people of China view Africans. She is using her ‘celebrity’ to give back to the community and has built a Space Station, which acts as a haven for local Africans to connect with each other.

Watching this short documentary made me reminisce about our encounters…

In recent years, an the amount of Chinese migrants to several African countries has increased. China’s economic dealings in Africa has created significant benefits for the continent. The development of new structures and businesses has created thousands of employment opportunities for locals. But this sudden migration has created a lot of debate and questions with regards to their motives.
In an unexpected turn of events, there has also been a flurry of Africans moving to China causing a surge in China’s economy.
Rather than seeking greener pastures in Europe, Australasia and America, China is now being looked at as the ‘land of opportunity’.

 

About the Video
Chinese-American photographer Daniel Traub, has spend the last four years documenting passers-by on a busy pedestrian bridge that crosses a major road running through Xiaobeilu. Xiaobeilu, is a neighborhood in China that has become home to several African migrants. At night, the bridge is transformed into a busy flea market bustling with tourists. Traub collected images from two Chinese migrant workers; Wu Yong Fu and Zeng Xian Fang who stand at the bridge daily advertising souvenir shots to African visitors.
Traub states, “There was a sense of self-portraiture in the images, as if the Africans were in conversation with themselves and the people who would see the images back home”.

Video Source: Vice.cn

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