Sichuan Earthquake Photographs Featured in FEAS Gallery Exhibit

Curator Patrick Dowdey speaks about the exhibit “The Great Sichuan Earthquake” March 30 in the Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies Gallery. On May 12, 2008, a 7.9-magnitude earthquake in Sichuan, China toppled buildings, destroyed roads and left over 80,000 dead. The government responded immediately with a massive rescue effort, and thousands of volunteers from all over China visited the quake zone to help. This is the first U.S. exhibition of these photographs by Chinese photographers, who themselves participated in the relief work.

 

Dowdey speaks about Beichaun, a small town in a deep gorge, where only 2,300 people out of a population of 10,000 survived the earthquake. The town is pictured on the bottom, left corner.

Andrew Chatfield, press and marking manager at the Center for the Arts, listens to Dowdy’s presentation.

The People's Liberation Army sent 150,000 troops, and the Chinese government called for volunteers, who arrived with water, food, blankets and medical supplies. Dowdy explained how the Chinese view the groundswell of voluntarism after the quake as one of their proudest moments.

The exhibit, which featured 40 prints, is open through May 22. Pictured in a grieving woman in Sichuan, China on May 17, 2008. The photograph was taken by Wu Hezheng, a Chinese government photographer.