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TRADE WINDS: Guangzhou's African Community | by GraemeNicol
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TRADE WINDS: Guangzhou's African Community

On the top floor of the Jinshan Trading Malls are a men's barbers and a woman's hair salon. The current occupants are mostly guys in their early 20s from Congo-Kinshasa, but they're leaving, been here six months, made some money, but had enough of the hassle of police, security guards, and visa renewal. The problem is also one of cultural adjustment; they can't speak any Chinese, don't like Chinese food, find it hard to make friends with Chinese girls, and they're missing the lifestyle of their home city Kinshasa, one of Africa's main centres for music and culture. While the loud melodic Congolese music brings variety to a corner of bland trading mall, their non-stop singing, dancing and general exuberance is largely lost on the more conservative locals. A week later they are gone, and new people are running the barbers and salon.

 

Xiaobei, Guangzhou, Oct 2008

Kiev-60, Provia 400

 

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The full project can be viewed as an e-book on my website here

graemenicol.com/?page_id=115

 

The documentary has been used editorially in Hong Kong's South China Morning Post, and published as a five-page photo essay in the Guangzhou newspaper Southern Metropolis Daily 南方都城日, available online here, in Chinese. epaper.nddaily.com/C/html/2009-05/23/node_929.htm

 

Several photos from the project were also exhibited at the 2009 Pingyao International Photography Festival, and also at Dali Photo Festival, both in China.

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Uploaded on October 5, 2009