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Zeng Yi “Connects” With Carter Center Efforts

Master Chinese photographer Zeng Yi’s, The People’s China, an in-depth look at rural life in his country has a thematic link to the Carter Center’s 10-year efforts to foster democracy around the globe, said curator Sylvia Mansour Naguib, of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum.

Though Zeng’s project grew out of his own interests, and he worked independently of the Carter Center, Ms. Naguib said in a recent interview that she was drawn to his sensitive depiction of the villagers and their surroundings when Zeng’s work was brought to her attention.
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Priceless Wellness, Shandong Province 2009

Priceless Wellness, Shandong Province 2009

“Zeng Yi’s work has a quiet reverence about it. He finds a way to invite us in to the image and to come face to face with each subject’s dignity. Even though he is documenting a way of life and people’s surroundings, he provides us a way to sense the atmosphere whether it is a couple smiling about memories, children playing in the street, a woman frustrated at missing her bus, or a group of village sweethearts now in their seventies talking together.”
Woman Who Missed The Bus, 1984

Woman Who Missed The Bus, 1984

President Carter’s bold step in 1978 to normalize relations with the People’s Republic of China and the signing of important landmark agreements during Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping’s visit to the U.S. (the first of any leader of the PRC) were the beginning of an almost 40-year relationship with the leaders and people of China. During the 1979 visit of Deng Xiaoping, the U.S. and PRC signed agreements, among them a Cultural Agreement and an Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology. Ever since, President Carter has had a long-standing relationship and has visited the PRC many times after his presidency.
By 1992, The Carter Center and Global 2000 had completed two projects – training 300 special education teachers and administrators and fostering considerable growth in Chinese prothesis production.
In a quote from a 2013 speech by President Carter to the U.S.-China Relations Forum in Atlanta, President Carter says, “Being a keen observer of China and invited by the Chinese government to observe village elections since the 1990s, my staff and I believe in what Deng Xiaoping once said that all reforms will eventually lead to political reform. We also are convinced it is the decision of the Chinese people and their leaders when and how to expand and deepen political reform.”
Kids From Old Street, Guangxi, 2006

Kids From Old Street, Guangxi, 2006

In that same speech, President Carter remembers, “I had been in China as a young naval officer, and I had fallen in love with the country and with its people.”
Because this exhibition really looks at the people of China in more traditional settings, it seemed to capture a China that we don’t see as much. The current media shows us more about the changes, the modernization, the big cities, the economic engine that is China today.
These classic images capture a life that is quickly disappearing. More information can be found on Zeng Yi’s artist page.
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Alfred Stieglitz - Mountain and Sky - Lake George

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Brett Weston - Spanish Village, Spain, 1960
(Silver Gelatin Print - 14.75 x 18.5)

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It is officially winter! Hopefully we can all avoid conditions like those in this photograph.

Photo Credits: Robert Glenn Ketchum - Avalanche Lake Basin (Cirque Headwalls in a Blizzard), 1974, Winters: 1970-1980
(Silver Gelatin Print - 9.5 x 7)

https://t.co/7d1so2Zuje

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