Photo
Fellow: 
Award Year: 
2006
Country: 
China

Seeking to bear witness to the profound effects of urbanization and industrialization on those who are left behind, Ann is living in the village of Dadizui in southeastern Sichuan Province, taking videos and large-scale photographs and compiling these visual narratives in a book.

Ann's finished book is available for sale, with all proceeds going to support future Carriebright fellows. For more information, please call 609-258-3657, or email pia@princeton.edu.


Artist Bio

Ann Waddell was born and raised in Grand Rapids, MI. She received a BA in art history and visual arts from Princeton University in 2002 and an MFA in photography from Massachusetts College of Art in 2005. She served as a PiA Fellow at the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing,where she was an English teacher from 2005-2006.

For 2007-2008, Ann was awarded Princeton in Asia's Carrie Gordon Tribute to support an ambitious photography project in the village of Dadizui in southeastern Sichuan Province. Seeking to bear witness to the profound effects of urbanization and industrialization on those who are left behind, Waddell lived in this village, taking videos and large-scale photographs, and compiling these visual narratives in a book. Ann is also an artist-in-residence at Lijiang Studio in Yunnan Province.

Ann’s work has been included in shows at Jen Bekman Gallery (New York, NY), Artspace@9 (Malden, MA), Massachusetts College of Art’s Doran Gallery (Boston, MA), and Ladyfest Los Angeles. Her freelance work has appeared in That’s Beijing, That’s Beijing Home, The Singapore Straits-Times, ChinaInternational Business, and Elle Décor China. According to PiA Trustee Karen Karp, praise for Ann’s work abounds: “Ann’s prints are among the most astonishing workI’ve ever seen on rural China, and I’ve been to countless exhibitions in both the U.S. and China.”


Artist Statement

For the past year and a half I have been photographing a small village area in Sichuan Province. It is a rapidly changing place, as many of its people between the ages of 17 and 40 are away working in factory boomtowns of the South.

I have become interested in what is left, and the mysteries of the land and people there.They are both dependent on one another, and in images, captive to a web of myth and story larger than themselves. I have developed relationships particularly with the area’s children, to whom the land is still wild and alive. At the same time, I am interested in the older people’s complicated relationship to this place as a symbol of work and livelihood, age, healing, and decay.

In all my work, I am interested in life cycles, and the ways in which we are born, grow, live,and die. In China’s major cities today (and in Beijing where I live when I’m not in the village), this cyclical nature of life is difficult to see under the increasing realities and pressures ofmodernization. But in rural China, where nearly 65% of the population still lives, these cyclesare still quite present in one’s everyday existence. I believe this makes for stories and images that get to the heart of who we are as creatures in the larger universe. 


A Selection of Photographs:

 


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