‘China Dream’ explores the fractured identities that second generation diaspora experience as they’re straddled their birth country and their motherland. Teresa Eng, whose parents immigrated to Canada from China via Hong Kong, explores the country of her ancestors.
Teresa visited China between 2013-2017. Her cultural memory of a place, where she has never lived, contrasts with a China in flux. During her stays, she witnessed constant cycles of construction, destruction and reconstruction across multiple cities and its surrounding towns. This inspired the stripped back colours of her images which were achieved by meticulously created handprints in the darkroom.
Each visit offered an insight to a country that is in the process of building its future while simultaneously reconstructing and reinterpreting its past, creating a new type of culture. Historical monuments and buildings, destroyed during Cultural Revolution are being rebuilt haphazardly ¬– often as facsimiles of the originals. The sprawling metropolis envelop the neighbouring countryside as more people move to the city – destroying an immeasurable amount of historical artefacts.
‘China Dream’ – the title of a patriotic calendar found at a newsagents –was also a term popularised in 2013 by General Secretary Xi Jinping. It also alludes to the American Dream, where hard work and entrepreneurial spirit will lift up each individual and the nation into prosperity.