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The VASA Front Page Project
presents the work of a photographer, video and sound artist.

Ximena Echague

Chinese Dream

Ximena Echaque© Ximena Echague

Curator: Sandeep Biswas

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Artist Statement:

China has changed more over the last 30 years than any other country in human history. This change has affected directly the life of 1300 million people (one human being out of 5) and transformed the whole world economic map, with many regions now depending more and more on Chinese trade and investment. When compared with the British led industrial revolution that redefined the world at the time, the Chinese revolution concerns 40 times more people and its happening far more rapidly.

The reforms launched by Deng Xiao Ping were not only an economic but also a social revolution. They have lifted more than 500 million Chinese (the entire population of Europe) out of poverty and into the consumer age and have produced the largest ever migration, with over 250 million Chinese from the poorer western provinces moving to the richer and freer coastal cities like Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangdong.

Therefore, old Chinese can remember, over the last century, the end of the traditional empire, decades of warlords and civil war, the tragic Japanese invasion, the communist takeover, the upheavals under of Mao with its leaps forward and cultural revolutions, and finally this momentous modernization. Enough change for several lives in any other country, and more than enough reasons to feel at a loss in this brave new world Socialism with Chinese characteristics...

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About the Photographer

I grew up in Buenos Aires, became a photographer in Europe and I am now living between New York and Brussels. After decades of moving around the world, I feel equally at home in Europe, America or Asia. My life has clearly influenced the way I look at the people around me. I have always lived in big cities with a large floating population, which naturally led me to empathize with them. We all are migrants in different ways, moving around trying to improve our lot in life, as it has been since the beginning of times. I try to capture this human dynamic in my photography, made of hopes fulfilled or shattered, with its drama and contradictions. The odyssey of human life.

 I have been inspired by many photographers and have learned a lot in many photography workshops over the years, from MAGNUM to IN-PUBLIC to APF, in Paris, London, New York, Brussels and India. I consider Eric Kim, Richard Kalvar, Nick Turpin, Matt Stuart, David Gibson and many others, to have strongly influenced my work over many weeks of interaction. More recently, the APF photographers Rohit and Vineet Vohra have become my photography gurus and I have embarked with them in the adventure of portraying the greatest ever concentration of humanity, the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, India, in 2019.

My work has been exhibited around the world, including in Europe (Paris, Brussels, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Greece, Hungary, Bulgaria and Poland), in America (New York, San Francisco, Miami, Argentina and Colombia), in Asia (China, Malaysia and United Arab Emirates) and in Africa (Mali). It has been published in Leica Fotografie International Magazine,  EyeShot, L’Oeil de la Photographie, LensCulture, Life Framer, National Geographic Magazine, PH Museum, Inspired Eye, Street Photography Magazine, Urban Eye, World Street Photography, Her side of the Street, among many other photography magazines.


Curator note:

Ximena’s body of work “ Chinese Dream “ revolves around the vast and rapid modernization in China in the last 3 decades paving way towards an economic development and new social reforms and how it is affecting the people of China.

The images depict a changing world that is trying to cope up with this massive economic and industrial revolution, yet trying hard to preserve its vibrant tradition, culture and architecture creating a visual dichotomy.

This whole new urbanization and industralization has created a vaccum between generations through the fast moving technological advancement and change in the aspirations of the younger people in contrast with their traditional and social structures.

Ximena’s imagery is based on a strong tradition of street photography in technique and composition amalgamated with a context that is contemporary in it’s approach.

Looking into the depth of each image individually, there is a feeling of a silent conflict within the spaces and the people. The calmness in each image somewhere depicts an inner turmoil among the subjects, creating a curious edginess for the viewer.

Her work has a keen sense towards storytelling, subtely embedding a question about the sustainablility and identity for the generations to come.

© Sandeep Biswas

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