kai fang

20 Oct 2009 – 24 Oct 2009

Asia House

England, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Oxford Circus, Regents Park, Great Portland Street, Bond Street

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An exhibition of photographs by Kate Shortt


Although the broad sweep of 20th century Chinese history is known in the West - the Japanese invasion, the Communist victory in the civil war, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, and post-Mao economic reforms - individual people too often are missing from the plot. We know only that millions died and that millions more survived. The stories of the survivors are mostly untold and, as this generation grows older, they may be lost forever. Kate Shortt travelled through China in 2006 with Xinran, the Chinese author, who was researching her book China Witness: Voices from a Silent Generation. For political or personal reasons, people had previously been reluctant to speak of their experiences or to voice opinions. After three decades of gaige kaifang (the policy of Reform and Opening Up), people were ready to tell their stories at last. Kate was there to capture on camera, with a sympathetic eye, the storytellers and their surroundings. She now presents them in this exhibition. Kate Shortt studied Chinese at Edinburgh University and Taipei Shifan Daxue, and was a photographic assistant to the late Lord Lichfield in London. She has travelled extensively in China and Africa working in the field for a variety of NGOs. She lives in London.

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