Enough shovels of earth: a mountain. Enough pails of water: a river.

By anne
March 3, 2007 - 11:13.

To that Chinese proverb, I would add, Enough snowflakes: a blizzard. Fortunately, despite winter weather that threatened to keep Twin Citians at home on a Friday night, the snow stopped falling and the plows hit the highways in time for last night’s opening of Behind the Gate: China in Flux After the Flood of the Three Gorges Dam at Macalester College.

Photographer/storyteller/ professor Wang Ping was there to debut her latest work, including a video juxtaposing provocative photos of the Three Gorges Dam project against interviews with residents displaced by the massive construction site.

Local luminaries lining up to view Ping’s work included Catherine Reid Day, executive director of Minnesota Campus Compact and an artist in her own right, as well as a singer and the executive producer of public TV’s Mental Engineering (pictured at right with Wang Ping), and painter Jim Kielkopf, who lives just up the way from the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center Gallery and whose gentle presence always seems to bless the space he’s in.

Here’s why you’ll want to see Behind the Gate:

Wang Ping’s photos are gorgeous enough to make you wonder why you haven’t been to China—or, if you have been, to awaken such nostalgia for the place that you’ll be jotting “Shanghai?” on your calendar at work the next day.

The story Wang Ping tells will make you think: At what cost progress? What is humankind doing to sustain Mother Earth as we wall off her arteries and cauterize her veins?

College students will be viewing the work right beside you. And there’s nothing like eavesdropping on the comments that come from such young, engaged minds. You might find yourself signing up for a class!

Jonathan & Nicole’s favorite photo

Donna & Katie enjoy the show

March 7, 2007 - 06:17
Anonymous says:

Anna, Thanks for covering this show. It is so easy for us to keep moving past things instead of stopping long enough to grasp the enormity of change that is constant.
Wang Ping has masterfully offered us an unblinking look at a place forever changed by human intervention. I hope you see you this weekend and at other art venues.
Catherine Reid Day

March 7, 2007 - 22:13
anne says:

Catherine, your words are poignant because it is indeed intervention (as well as in-vention) when we re-route a river…dam it up so that years later, in countless places such as New Orleans, it floods, and takes innocent lives along with it…and drive the indigenous creatures—human or otherwise—to seek new forms of shelter, food and livelihood. Yet where do we draw the line? At what point does ingenuity morph into dangerous disregard for balance? Are places meant to be preserved by their beauty alone? Who adjudicates what sites are ecologically necessary and which ones should give way to economic advantage? Wang Ping’s photographs and video lift us up and then toss our inconsequential scraps of flesh into the abyss. We can no more disregard the beauty than we can deny the pain. That’s what I love about art borne of experience. No one can walk away unchanged.

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