Exhibition by Alejandro Acin
From 12th to 22nd of November 2015 // 10am to 5pm
Hosted in a shipping container, next to M Shed Museum Cafe
A project which has grown out of the Historical Photographs of China project takes the form of an unusual and unique exhibition in a shipping container. Inspired by themes that emerge from within the 34,000 images digitised by the project, photographer Alejandro Acin has been working around some of the most important markets in the port of Bristol’s twin city Guangzhou – Canton. This south China conurbation has long been a transhipment point for the country’s engagement in the world’s economy.
The question ”WHAT ARE THE LIONS STARING AT?” is posed on the side of the container but it is also the reference point from which Alejandro Acin has positioned himself to develop this photographic work. ‘Guangzhou has more than 2000 years of history, and it has always been a global trading hub. Through all this time statues of pairs of stone lions were used as markers of prosperity and protective symbols outside temples or wealthy family homes. They used to be expensive to make. But today you can find lions everywhere, in supermarkets, hotels and so on … after a conversation with a local resident of Guangzhou where he told me: “We don’t realise how quickly the city is changing” I thought that these lions are the only witnesses of all this change and transformation’.
Alejandro has placed this exhibition in a shipping container by the Bristol harbourside, creating the perfect context for this work.
This exhibition is part of the University of Bristol’s InsideArts Festival of the Arts and Humanities, and is part of the national festival of the humanities, Being Human. It is a collaboration between Historical Photographs of China, M Shed Museum and IC Visual Lab, and is funded by InsideArts and a Cultural Engagement award from the Arts & Humanities Research Council-funded the British Inter-university China Centre.