In recent years, the media have increasingly been reporting on the 'presence of China' in Africa. However, African communities have existed in Chinese cities since the 1990s. 

Everyday life of African migrants in Guangzhou

The southern coastal city of Guangzhou, twin city of Frankfurt, is home to the largest group of African migrants in China. A flourishing economy, cheap consumer goods and a large market let people from different African countries look for a professional perspective there. But even though some migrants are able to set up a business as traders, for example, the perspective of many is clouded by conflicts with the Chinese immigration authorities, experiences of racism and the deterioration of economic conditions. In the first edition of the WELTKULTUREN NEWS, Adams Bodomo, professor of African studies, writes about these conflicts and the everyday life of African migrants in China.

“Little North Road” (Xiaobeilu) 

explores the people and activities found on a pedestrian bridge in an ethnically diverse quarter of Guangzhou, China. This bridge functions as a symbolic gateway for populations entering into China and the metropolis from the Global South, including people from all corners of the African continent who have come to Guangzhou in search of new opportunities.

On this pedestrian bridge, 

the US-American Daniel Traub encountered two Chinese itinerant portrait photographers – Wu Yong Fu and Zeng Xian Fang who were making a living offering a souvenir photograph to passersby, primarily Africans. Without intending to, the two photographers were creating a record of the various groups entering into Guangzhou from 2012 until 2015. In collaboration with Wu and Zeng, an archive of over 25,000 images has been created.

In the exhibition “WORLDS IN MOTION. Narrating Migration”, a tightly edited section of the collected portraits and some of Traub’s own photographs and videos are shown, which explore the broader social dynamics of the bridge and surrounding area.

The exhibition consists of a tightly edited selection of the collected portraits as well as Traub’s own photographs and videos which explore the broader social dynamics of the bridge and surrounding area.

Daniel Traub, born 1971, is a New York-based photographer and filmmaker. Since 1999, he has been engaged with long-term photographic projects in China.

Wu Yong Fu, born 1979, left the Jiangxi Province in search of opportunity in Guangzhou. From 2009 to 2011, he applied his photographic skills to making memorial portraits for the many Africans and other passersby in the Xiaobeilu area.

Zeng Xian Fang, born 1980, migrated from Hunan Province to Guangzhou in search of work. He worked as a photographer on the pedestrian bridge in the Xiaobeilu area from late 2009 until the summer of 2015.