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Zhuang Wubin: 小城故事 | Small-Town Stories27 October 2016 - 1 January 2017

Yeo Workshop is proud to present the photography and research of Zhuang Wubin's 小城故事 | Small-Town Stories. This is the first time the artist's work will be presented in a gallery setting, featuring not only limited editions of his prints, but also his field notes, as well as a box of collected photographs and artefacts affectionately referred to as a 'portable museum' that viewers can browse. 

Despite their longstanding presence, the histories of the rural Chinese communities in Southeast Asia have yet to be written. And this may affect the legitimacy of their belonging, cautioned political scientist Mary Somers Heidhues some two decades back. Since then, there have been various attempts by historians and anthropologists to address this gap of knowledge.

This project takes Heidhues’ caution as the starting point. It aims to collect/aestheticise stories and artefacts of these Sinophone communities using photography, text and video. Broadly speaking, Zhuang is interested in the Chinese who live in places that are no longer considered the primary cities of the region, including semi-rural towns and locales in the countryside. Their forefathers first arrived at these places as indentured labour, political refugees or energetic mercenaries. Over time, they fashioned identities and cultures that differed from people of their ancestral lands and the places where they settled. Visiting these sites today, it becomes easier to understand Chinese-ness as something fluid, contingent or temporary. 

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Zhuang Wubin: 小城故事 | Small-Town Stories

Yeo Workshop is proud to present the photography and research of Zhuang Wubin's 小城故事 | Small-Town Stories. This is the first time the artist's work will be presented in a gallery setting, featuring not only limited editions of his prints, but also his field notes, as well as a box of collected photographs and artefacts affectionately referred to as a 'portable museum' that viewers can browse. 

Despite their longstanding presence, the histories of the rural Chinese communities in Southeast Asia have yet to be written. And this may affect the legitimacy of their belonging, cautioned political scientist Mary Somers Heidhues some two decades back. Since then, there have been various attempts by historians and anthropologists to address this gap of knowledge.

This project takes Heidhues’ caution as the starting point. It aims to collect/aestheticise stories and artefacts of these Sinophone communities using photography, text and video. Broadly speaking, Zhuang is interested in the Chinese who live in places that are no longer considered the primary cities of the region, including semi-rural towns and locales in the countryside. Their forefathers first arrived at these places as indentured labour, political refugees or energetic mercenaries. Over time, they fashioned identities and cultures that differed from people of their ancestral lands and the places where they settled. Visiting these sites today, it becomes easier to understand Chinese-ness as something fluid, contingent or temporary. 

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