This exhibit of photographs by Miao (Hmong) scholar Bode Wang will run from March 3 to April 15, 2017 in the Alcove Gallery.
Artist Talk: "Environment and Religious Practice on China's Southwest Borderland"
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Tea at 4:15 pm, talk at 4:30 pm in the Philips Wing of Magill Library
Fenghuang County is under Xiangxi Tujia Nationality and Miao Nationality Autonomous Prefecture, Hunan Province, People’s Republic China. Located in the Wuling Mountains, the eastern end of the Yun(nan)-Gui(zhou) Plateau, Fenghuang is part of China’s southwest borderlands and well-known for its diverse environmental features and ethnic cultures. The county’s topography features the rugged mountains in the northwest (where the towns of Heku, Laershan, and Shanjiang are located) and river valleys and lowlands in the southeast (where the county seat of Tuojiang Town serves as the political and cultural center). The river ways in Fenghuang, including the Tuojiang and Wanrongjiang rivers, belong to the Yangzi River system. They not only provide local peoples with resources but also often serve as boundary demarcations for various ethnic groups.
For centuries, Fenghuang has been homeland to the Miao people (known as “Hmong” outside China). Officially defined as one of the 55 ethnic minority nationalities in the People’s Republic China, the Miao have developed distinct cultural and national identities. Currently, over 240,000 Miao people live in Fenghuang, constituting nearly 60% of the country’s population. Together with those in the neighboring east Guizhou Province, they represent a particular branch of the broad linguistic and cultural family of the Miao people—Ghoxiong. Throughout Chinese history, Fenghuang has witnessed intense and sometimes violent interactions of Miao and other various peoples.
As a Miao scholar and photographer, Mr. Bode Wang has worked on a number of Miao cultural projects as a key member of Fenghuang County Cultural Relics Bureau. Concurrently serving as the head of Xiangxi Photographer Society, he has also devoted himself in promoting the understanding and appreciation of the landscape and culture of the Miao homeland with images. Through his lens, he illustrates a colorful and sophisticated world of the Miao nationality. On exhibition are a sampling of his photos, demonstrating the environment, human communities, social customs, and religious practices of his hometown.
This exhibit is sponsored by the Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment (LIASE); Bi-Co East Asian Languages and Cultures Department; Bryn Mawr College 360 Program, Endowed Lectures Fund, Langlois Memorial Fund, Libraries, and Provost's Office; Swarthmore College Libraries and Modern Languages and Literatures Chinese Section; Haverford College Distinguished Visitors Program and Haverford Libraries.