Wu Yongfu, Zeng Xianfang & Daniel Traub

Little North Road


ZENGXIANFANG - FLAT_FINAThe title Little North Road is the literal translation of Xiaobeilu, a road in the Yuexiu district of Guangzhou with a pedestrian bridge adjoins. Its the most diverse section of the city, and includes the largest number of African visitors and immigrants in Guangzhou. The project is a photographic collaboration looking at the bridge that serves as a symbolic gateway into China from Africa. At the heart of it is a selection of images collected from two Chinese itinerant portrait photographers, Wu Yong Fu and Zeng Xian Fang. Equipped with digital cameras, they have made a living making portraits for Africans who wanted a memento of their time in China.

Daniel Traub’s photographs explore the broader dynamics of the area and provide a context through which to look at the work of Wu and Zeng. As China’s power and reach have grown, it has become a new centre of gravity pulling people from remote lands. Guangzhou has become a magnet for Africans and other groups who have come in search of opportunity and to trade in the goods produced in the Pearl River Delta. Recent developments such as the Covid-19 crisis however, call into question whether this cosmopolitanism is an inevitable part of China’s future or a moment that has already passed.

Wu Yongfu (b.1979, Jiangxi province, China)

Wu Yong Fu has lived in Guangzhou since 2003. Originally from Jiangxi Province he left his home in search of opportunity. After working for some years in the aluminium industry, he began to make a living taking souvenir photographs for tourists in Zhongxin Square. While he no longer takes photographs, he continues to live and work in the same district.

Zeng Xianfang (b.1980, Hunan Province, China)

Zeng Xian Fang is based in Guangzhou with his wife, two children and extended family since 2009. Originally from Hunan Province, he migrated to Guangzhou in search of work. He learned to make photographs and, together with his wife, began producing portraits. He worked on the pedestrian bridge in the Xiaobeilu area from late 2009 until the summer of 2015. Together with his family, he continues to live and work in the vicinity.

Daniel Traub (b.1971, Philadelphia, USA)

Daniel Traub is a New York-based photographer and filmmaker, originally from Philadelphia. Traub, whose mother is Chinese, lived in China from 1998 to 2007, working as a cinematographer on documentary films. He was also engaged in long-term photographic projects, including Simplified Characters, a series of street pictures that explore the vast changes at the beginning of the 21st century in urban China.

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