Friday, 8 November 2013

The new Camera Cafe Gallery: Guangzhou Edge, Mengxi Zhang

A photographer captures the soul of a city undergoing many changes. Paul Coleman reports from London's newest arts venue.

Living on the edge

Observant and atmospheric, the photography of Mengxi Zhang evocatively captures the impact of globally driven change on the outer fringes of the Chinese city of Guangzhou.
"I decided to explore the edges of the city - and was wowed by the colours and beauty I saw," says Zhang (above), speaking at the opening night of her Guangzhou Edge exhibition at the newly-opened Camera Cafe Gallery. 
  Guangzhou, a city striving to carve a niche in the global economy, remains close to Zhang's heart, and yet distant too. She moved to Guangzhou with her parents when aged 11 and lived in the city centre for seven years.
  Zhang's soulful images show buildings and flyovers dwarfing outer Guangzhou's inhabitants, forgotten statues and slumbering dogs. "That was accidental," adds Zhang. "I didn't wait for people to appear."

Mixed feelings
Zhang's thoughtful photographs reveal much about Guangzhou and reflect her own  feelings too. She returned to China in October 2012 after an eight-year spell living in England. "I was trying to understand my mixed feelings towards this fast changing and familiar-yet-distant motherland of mine," says Zhang. "I heard the outer parts of the city were changing...and I felt I must go and see for myself."

New London gallery
A selection of Zhang's atmospheric winter photographs are premiered in Guangzhou Edge, a special exhibition that launches the Camera Cafe Gallery, a unique new arts exhibition venue in the heart of Bloomsbury, London's literary centre.
Near to the British Museum, and a popular haunt for photographers and many other visitors, the Camera Cafe combines a specialist camera and coffee shop - and now, London's newest arts venue.

Guangzhou Edge runs until Friday, 15 November 2013. Daily, Monday to Friday 11am-7pm, Saturday noon to 7pm. Closed Sunday.
The Camera Cafe Gallery is located at 44 Museum Street, London, WC1A 1LY.
Nearest tubes: Tottenham Court Road, Holborn.

Paul Coleman, London Intelligence, November 2013

1 comment:

Bloomsbury Blogger said...

Excellent summary! Good to meet you Paul.