© Rona Chang 2014

This Chinese Life

China is a big, diverse country. Its role in the world is changing and it is considered a rising power on many levels. China is often viewed with a skewed skepticism in the west, much of it based on the current political environment. As a Chinese American, I have a fascination and a love-hate relationship with the Chinese and with being Chinese. A country of 1.35 billion entails far more nuanced and complex stories than what is popularly depicted in the media. One story at a time, This Chinese Life portrays the complex intersection of diverse peoples and cultures within varied landscapes. This project is an exploration of how the Chinese impact their environment, the varied terrain they inhabit and the way traditions are carried on simultaneously with the openings of new roads that bring about modernization and new ways of living. It is a personal exploration of my Taiwanese and Chinese heritage as I continually establish connections and relationships with those that I encounter in China (including Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau). In my work, I observe contemporary Chinese perspectives, focusing on the surrounding landscape, immediate domestic environments, and my family ties after decades of separation. China is a complex and multifaceted place. To me, the term “Chinese” does not have a fixed or a single meaning, but rather is a fluid concept that may change depending on the context. There are common denominators underlying the layers of This Chinese Life. The borders that contain the landscape and/ or the thousands of years of restless yet ‘common’ history bind many people.

 
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The Western Golfer, Lijiang, Yunnan, China.
 
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Man on Roof after Typhoon, Taoyuan, Taiwan.
 
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Fireworks, Guanyin, Taiwan.
 
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Washing in the Flood, Fenghuang, Hunan, China.
 
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The Target Practice, Qingyan, Guizhou, China.
 
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Second Day of the New Year, Miaoli, Taiwan.
 
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Weeding the Stone Forest, Shilin, Yunnan, China.
 
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At the Well, Shanghai, China.
 
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Men Working, TGDP, Yichang, China.
 
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Long Johns, Macau, China.
 
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The Yacht, Chongqing, China.
 
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Tourists in a Dragon Boat Race, Yangtze River, China.
 
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The Swimmer, Beijing, China.
 
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The Pirate Ship, Chongqing, China.
 
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The Village Party, Zhenshan Village, Guizhou, China.
 
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Fixing the Colosseum, Macau, China.
 
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The Diner, Shanghai, China.
 
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The Zi Pai Game, Xijiang, Guizhou, China.
 
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The Dong Villager, Congjiang, Guizhou, China.
 
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Man with Fire, Shanghai, China.
 
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The Husky, Shuhe Old Town, Yunnan, China.
 
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The Toast, Weishan, Yunnan, China.
 
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The Gejia, Matang, Guizhou, China.
 
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The Monks, Lijiang, Yunnan, China.
 
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The Camel, Xijiang, Guizhou, China.
 
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The Shaving Business, Wuhan, Hubei, China.
 
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Tiger Leaping Gorge, Lijiang, China.
 
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The Coal Shack, Yangtze River, China.
 
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Looking Back, Shanghai, China.
 
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The Gamblers, Yulong River, Guangzhou, China.