Behind the GateBehind the Gate

March 3 – 27, 2007
Opening Reception: Friday March 2, 2007
7:00 to 9:00 pm

An exhibition featuring photos taken by Macalester College Associate Professor Wang Ping, in addition to related texts and a video installation, will be held at the Macalester College Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center Gallery, Friday, March 2 through March 27, 2007. Entitled Behind the Gate: China in Flux after the Flood of the Three Gorges Dam, the subject matter covers Wang’s recent journeys to the Three Gorges Dam area and along the Yangtze River.

The setting of the photos and video takes place starting just days before the June 6, 2006, blasting of the coffer dam and in the aftermath during the following months. It shows not only the dam, the flooded waterways and towering new concrete construction, but also the people and towns to and from which they have relocated. It includes the massive development of highways across the high mountains along the river, and it visits the Shanghai delta and its offshore wetland, where the Yangtze deposits the last of its sediment. It journeys through the upper region of the Yangtze, the Golden Sand River, and its yet-pristine Leaping Tiger Gorges, where more dam projects are underway.

Intended to introduce the visitor to the benefits and dangers of the dam itself, such as energy production, increased commerce, flood control, disruption of sewage and sediment drainage, it also details the personal stories of individuals displaced by the dam project and the environmental impacts on the river ecosystem, its land and animal species.

Wang Ping was born in Shanghai and grew up on a small island in the East China Sea. After three years spent farming in a mountain village commune, she attended Beijing University. In 1985 she left China to study in the United States, earning her Ph.D. from New York University. She is the acclaimed author of the short story collection American Visa, the novel Foreign Devil, two poetry collections: Of Flesh & Spirit and The Magic Whip, the cultural study Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China, and the forthcoming collection of fiction stories The Last Communist Virgin.