I DESIRE TO GO TO SCHOOL: PHOTOGRAPHS BY XIE HAILONG
CHINA YOUTH DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION
China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF), a national non-governmental and nonprofit organization, has focused on providing educational programs to some of China's poorest regions. To that end, CYDF launched and managed Project Hope, which has enabled over 2.9 million children from poverty-stricken families to attend school.
In this exhibit well-known photographer
Xie Hailong documents the plight of some of China's poorest children stating
"I decided to photograph the desolate areas of China where life was
extremely difficult. During my travels I learned that many rural children
had to drop out of school because
XIE HAILONG--THE PHOTOGRAPHER
I began to teach myself photography in the early 1980's. Over the next ten years my work was displayed at several photography exhibitions and won several awards both in China and overseas. In 1990, I decided to photograph the desolate areas of China where life was extremely difficult. During my travels I learned that many rural children had to drop out of school because their parents could not afford their tuition. Their strong desire to be in school affected me deeply. I decided that I had to record their tories with my camera and to tell people who were more fortunate: "Please help these children!"
In early 1991, I also started interviewing people living in remote areas. I took trains, tractors and whatever transportation I could find to reach some of those small villages in the mountains. Not having enough money for traveling, at times I had to live in farmers' houses. Other times I stayed in the homes of schoolteachers. They often talked about their students and often tears and bitterness accompanied their stories. Of course, life was as difficult for these teachers as it was for their students; yet the teachers did not want to leave their villages, their schools, and their children. By the end of that year I had traveled to 12 provinces, 28 counties and visited over 100 schools in the Chinese countryside.
When I returned to my own home, many people could not understand why I had taken pictures of these poor children in the countryside. They thought the photos were too depressing to be shown in public. But I remembered the children who cried because they were too poor to attend school. I remembered the children who had endured extreme hardships in order to earn money to help their family, or to pay for their schooling, and my heart told me not to give up.
In April 1992, I sent 40 of these photographs to my friends and colleagues. I listened to what they said; they were moved and they wanted to help these children return to school. The photograph featuring "the little girl with wide eyes" has especially moved people's hearts.
In time the media discovered my work and the China Youth Development Foundation, which raises funds for the educational program Project Hope, which targets the entire country. As a result, Project Hope received hundreds of millions of Yuan. Many people added a note saying: Please send this money to that little girl with wide eyes.
In October 1992, my personal exhibition "Photo Journalism for Project Hope" was held simultaneously in Beijing and Taipei. The exhibition in Beijing was part of the China Photography Festival, which included the work of many famous photographers. But I was an unknown photographer at the time, and my work was displayed in the hallway. People cried when they saw my photos and placed donations for Project Hope on the floor in front of my photos throughout the ten-day exhibition. For the first time, I became aware of the immense power of photography and the responsibility that I had in documenting this subject. After Beijing, the exhibition traveled to many other locations and it created strong emotional response wherever it went.
Since 1992, I have worked for China Youth newspaper and I continue to interview people and photograph rural places. I also continue to support Project Hope. In 1994, I donated my royalties from exhibition photographs to help five children from the western province of Qinghai go to school. In October 1994, my book "I Desire to go to School" was published and resulted in many donations to Project Hope. In 1997, I auctioned the camera I used in my original trip and donated these proceeds to Project Hope.
Now, many of the children who appeared in my earliest photographs are all grown up and are educated people. Many of the then - ramshackle schools have been rebuilt by Project Hope. But there are still many students who can't afford to go to school and many villages, which have no school or only a very dilapidated one.
With the continuing help of Project Hope, "the little girl with wide eyes" --the poster child for this far-reaching effort--- has recently become a high school senior. My hope is that the educational future for all rural Chinese children will become as bright as hers.
I DESIRE TO GO TO SCHOOL: PHOTOGRAPHS BY XIE HAILONG
* All I.D. Label copy on a CD
* All Interpretive Panel copy on a CD
* Sample Press Kit with color slides for publicity on a CD
SPONSORING INSTITUTION REQUIREMENTS:
* Facilities Report: Each participating institution is required to complete.a Facilities Report outlining their current security system.
* Moderate Security: Limited access gallery, security supervised at all times, and/or glass/plexiglass covering art works required.
* Gallery Space: Approximately 1000 square feet.
* Shipping & Insurance: Participating organization pays round trip shipping and wall-to-wall insurance.
* Availability: Three month booking period; includes transportation and installation time.
* Rental Fee: $1,200.00
For more information, please
contact the Asian Art Coordinating Council at