Working on an ongoing project I was wandering around in Hong Kong with a Margaret Ho an accomplished dancer from Hong Kong. She is one of the few fire dancers you can find in this city. It was a hot and humid day and we decided to have a break and go for a coffee or tea as we walked by Schoeni Art Gallery in Hollywood road (http://www.schoeni.com.hk/).
Schoeni Art Gallery had just an exhibition from a young, talented and inspiring artist from China displayed. His name is Zhang Qiang and he had already a number of exhibitions in different places.
The work I was permitted to use for the images of my project is titled Nursery and is an edition of 99 identical babies. 9 in Chinese is the number for longevity as it pronounces "jiu" just like longevity. It is made of Resin, Cast Iron, Paint and Cotton Cloth and dated 2010.
The artist has used his signature character, which is also his alter ego. His body of work questions the fate of children and the education they receive in contemporary China.
He considers it is a pity that they are expected to study so hard and be so productive in the rat race so early on. This work is about how identical the expectations are on the newborn and how little room there is for individuality, so they are all alike on the outside.
However the artist wanted to recreate the missing individuality and to attract the viewer's attention to the inner personality. He made the sculpture out of a material he conceived, a mix of stone (alike marble powder) and fiberglass so despite their external look they all have a different weight and have slight dissimilarities, notably in the shape of their skulls.
Born in Handan, Hebei province, in 1982, Zhang Qiang graduated from Hebei Normal University. His works were shown notably in 2010 at the 2nd Animamix Biennal at the Guangdong Museum of Art, in Beijing at the White Box Museum of Art, in Japan and in 2011 in Taiwan, at the Central Iron Age Museum of Art in Beijing.
I am quite grateful to the artist and to Schoeni Gallery to get the permission to use his work as a background and prop for my own photographic endeavor which will be very fitting in my project which will be done in different locations all over the world.