FROM MAO TO NOW
Featured Image: Picture being taken 1980 & Now © 1980-2014 Stephen Verona
MAO to NOW: Photographs by Stephen Verona features 32 images documenting striking changes when comparing Chinese society in 1980 with 2014. The exhibition will be on view in the Fowler’s Goldenberg Galleria from May 15 – October 9, 2016.
In 1980, Stephen Verona made his initial trip to China to direct a co-produced American-Chinese film, the first in more than 40 years. Verona and his film crew entered China shortly after the country opened its borders to the outside world as a result of the Chinese Economic Reform that began in 1978. The film crew traveled with Chinese escorts, including an army general, from Shanghai to Suzhou and on to Beijing. While scouting for film locations, Verona photographed many aspects of everyday life including people bicycling, practicing Tai Chi, and fetching water from the Bund. In late October of 2014, Verona returned to China to retrace his steps and document the many changes that took place during the previous 34 years. “I had to go and see the country again.” Verona said. “Today it’s almost unrecognizable.”
In Mao to Now, Verona contrasts his vastly different photographs of China in diptych groupings. The paired images highlight dramatic societal changes such as expanded modes of transportation (rickshaws and bullet trains) and communication methods (community bulletin boards and mobile devices). These images bring to light both the positive and negative effects of China's economic development, from the stagnation of the Maoist era to one of the fastest-growing in the world.
Stephen Verona is an artist, photographer, and filmmaker who lives in Los Angeles. His paintings and photographs are in public and private collections worldwide. The
Fowler Museum at UCLA is one of the country’s most respected institutions devoted to exploring the arts and cultures of Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and the Americas.