Young Chinese artist Zhu Lanqing is awarded top discovery prize at international-grade photography festival in Xiamen. 

“Jimei X Arles: East West Encounters” brings the legacy of Les Rencontres d’Arles to Xiamen in 2015, honouring 388 artists from 16 countries and regions around the world.

Zhu Lanqing, 'A Journey in Reverse Direction', ongoing. Image from

Zhu Lanqing, ‘A Journey in Reverse Direction’, ongoing project. Image courtesy the artist and Jimei X Arles International Photo Festival.

“East West Encounters”

The inaugural Jimei X Arles International Photo Festival 2015, entitled “East West Encounters”, attracted more than 50,000 viewers from 15 November to 16 December 2015. With Sam Stourdzé, Director of the reputable Les Recontres d’Arles, acting as Co-Art Director, Jimei X Arles benefited from the prestige, network and festival experience of the earliest and most influential photo festival in the world.

Partnering with Stourdzé as Co-Art Director was Rong Rong, Founder of Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, while independent curator Li Zhenhua served as CEO of the event. Bringing together Eastern and Western sensibilities, the festival showcased 1,635 works by 388 international artists hailing from China, France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, the United States, Japan, Norway, Britain, Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, Singapore, Italy, Hong Kong and Taiwan. As e-flux states:

From the originators and consultants to the curators and artists, all participants […] present[ed] the benefits which were brought by the encounters between East and West.

Sam Stourdzé, Lausanne, 2013. Image from

Sam Stourdzé, Lausanne, 2013. Image from

Interrogating photography

The festival’s 30-person strong international curatorial team presented a show that featured diverse yet carefully themed works, including 66 video works, 56 installations, one performance, and two book fairs that showcased 150 photography books. According to e-flux, a highlight of the festival included a solo exhibition of Paul Ronald’s colour photographs, curated by Stourdzé.

Other exhibits spotlighted by e-flux include Tang Jing’s Kassel Project and Ju Anqi’s Big Character, which “record and reflect the artists’ individual observations and considerations of the city and suburb”. Meanwhile, Lei Lei’s animation project Photo Recycle, and Du Xiyun and Zong Jian’s exhibition “Daily Snapshot”focus on the practice and production of photography itself.

Zhu Lanqing, 'A Journey in Reverse Direction', ongoing project. Image from

Zhu Lanqing, ‘A Journey in Reverse Direction’, ongoing project. Image courtesy the artist, from the artist’s website.

Jimei x Arles Awards

The Jimei X Arles Discovery Award comprised one Discovery Award (RMB200,000) and three Jimei X Arles Nomination Awards (RMB50,000 each). Chosen by a professional team, the 2015 Discovery Award winner was young Chinese artist Zhu Lanqing (b. 1991, Fujian).

Zhu graduated with a Master’s degree from the Department of Photojournalism at Renmin University of China in 2012 and moved to Taiwan to study at the Institute of Applied Arts in Fujen Catholic University. Her works have been published in magazines and shown at photography festivals around the world, including the FORMAT International Festival and Lianzhou International Photo Festival. Zhu’s photobook was nominated for the PHOTOEYE’s Best Books of 2012. She also won the Three Shadows Photography Award in 2014 and the Barcelona International Photography Awards in 2015.

The three awardees for the Jimei X Arles Nomination Awards include Daisuke Yokota (b. 1983, Saitama), Zhang Zengzeng (b. 1987, Anhui) and Shen Xiaomin (b. 1972, Fujian). Speaking about the awards, Curator Li Zhenhua said, quoted by e-flux:

Even though art and photography are insignificant creations among the social upheavals nowadays and they may not change the world, they can change our ways of looking at the world. Moreover, we can gain courage from our actions. The Jimei X Arles Nomination Award is provided for those artists who have the courage to express their emotion and feelings in the social reality.

Michele Chan


Related Topics: Chinese artists, Japanese artists, festivals, awards, art prizes, photography, events in China

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By Brittney

Brittney is a writer, curator and contemporary art gallerist. Born in Singapore and based in New York City, Brittney maintains a deep interest in the contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia. This is combined with an equally strong interest in contemporary art from the Asian diasporas, alongside the issues of identity, transmigration and global relations.

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