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Facing East: Chinese Urbanism in Africa
Exhibition at Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York
June 17th, 2015 – August 1st, 2015

June 16th Exhibition Opening:
Watch the discussion with the Curators and Global Experts here.

New York, NY — China’s influence in Africa is growing quickly on many levels. All across the continent, Chinese companies are creating new highways, light rail systems, Special Economic Zones, and mass housing developments. Cities have received brand new skylines “made in China”: designed by Chinese architecture firms, financed by Chinese banks, and built by Chinese contractors. From foundational elements such as concrete, window frames, and fire extinguishers, to decorative ones such as carpets and curtains, many of the basic items used to construct these skylines have been sourced directly from China.

On June 16th, 2015, Storefront for Art and Architecture will open Facing East: Chinese Urbanism in Africa, an exhibition by journalist Michiel Hulshof (Tertium, Amsterdam) and architect Daan Roggeveen (MORE Architecture, Shanghai). Facing East investigates the impact of Chinese development on fast-growing African cities, and is built around personal stories of individuals involved in the urbanization process.

Hulshof and Roggeveen have traveled to six African cities to research the Chinese impact that exists on the ground. They interviewed over a hundred Chinese and African architects, politicians, entrepreneurs, journalists, students, developers, artists, and individuals who are involved in or touched by Africa’s rapid process of urbanization.

China’s influence in Africa often goes even further than what we perceive through the lens of the built environment. China’s state-owned CCTV Africa is broadcasting throughout the continent, and many African capitals have Confucius Institutes, in which an increasing number of African students are learning Mandarin Chinese.

Facing East allows visitors to experience the fascinating consequences of shifts in geopolitical power from the perspectives of those living it. The visitor finds himself in the same unstable position as Hulshof and Roggeveen during their research trips, and is forced to make associations between narratives, navigate existing and new relationships, and attempt to tie these together to comprehend the next chapter of globalization: one in which many African cities are beginning to face eastward.

About the Curators:

Michiel Hulshof is partner at Tertium, an urban research and strategy bureau in Amsterdam. He has worked as a China correspondent for several Dutch and international media outlets.
Daan Roggeveen is an architect and co-founder of MORE Architecture, a studio for architecture and research based in Shanghai.
Hulshof and Roggeveen collaborate on the Go West Project, a think tank on emerging megacities. They are also the authors of How the City Moved to Mr Sun – China’s New Megacities (SUN, 2011). They lecture and publish frequently in Europe, the US, and Asia.

Exhibition Opening:

June 16th from 7 to 9 pm: free and open to the public; press and members’ preview at 6 pm.

7:00pm Opening Event

Curators Daan Roggeveen and Michiel Hulshof discuss the impact of China in urban Africa with Shanghai-based architect and researcher Zhengli Huang and Ethiopian journalist Lily Yekoye. To attend the press preview or review the exhibition, contact Jinny Khanduja at 212.431.5795 or jk@storefrontnews.org.

About Storefront for Art and Architecture

Founded in 1982, Storefront for Art and Architecture is a nonprofit organization committed to the advancement of innovative positions in architecture, art and design. Our program of exhibitions, artists talks, film screenings, conferences and publications is intended to generate dialogue and collaboration across geographic, ideological and disciplinary boundaries. As a public forum for emerging voices, Storefront explores vital issues in art and architecture with the intent of increasing awareness of and interest in contemporary design. General Information:

Storefront for Art and Architecture
Gallery Address: 97 Kenmare Street, New York, NY 10012
Phone: (212) 431-5307
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM

General support for Storefront’s exhibition and programs are made possible by Arup; F.J. Sciame Construction Co., Inc.; the Foundation for Contemporary Arts; The Greenwich Collection Ltd.; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; The Peter T. Joseph Foundation; and by its Board of Directors, members, and individual donors.

The research projects Chinese Urbanism in Africa is made possible with the generous support of the Creative Industries Fund NL and the EFL Foundation.


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