Beijing 2006 - Just hanging on (1)

Marjolein Katsma

Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Wall Art


Artist's Description

Share this page Photo © 2006 Marjolein Katsma | Text © 2012 Marjolein Katsma

Tags for this photograph:
beijing, china, hutong, zhū băo shì jiē, zhu bao shi jie, zhubao shi street, destruction, people, coping, hanging on, pragmatic, shop, shopfront, pajamas

This is part of the second series of Beijing 2006 – The hutong photos; see my journal posts Beijing 2006 – The hutong and Beijing 2006: Out with the old, in with the new for the background of this series.

See the location on a satellite map (Google’s street map doesn’t register with the satellite view!)

One thing I always admire in the Chinese is how they can be so very pragmatic and inventive. Many people in Beijing (and all over China) were facing big changes, or already had have to deal with them: Moving to a new apartment, usually in a totally different neighborhood, losing their shop, and having to rent a new space somewhere to continue to do their business.

Of course there were protests, and not everyone would actually be better off after all this (but some would), and especially for very old people it can be hard to be uprooted and to move somewhere different, and miss the close-knit community of the hutong they’ve know all their life.

But others, especially shop owners, were just hanging on – as long as their shops were still standing, or even half-standing(!), it was business as usual. The shopping public acted the same: as long as the shops were still there, they still came – even if one half of the street had already disappeared.

So here’s a rather cheerful little series of images of how the Beijingers are coping with the hutong being torn down around them – in sometimes surprising ways…

This is a little pajama shop along Zhubaoshi Street (zhū băo shì jiē, which means “Jewellery Market Street” – there are indeed jewelry stores at the southern end of the street but further north there are also a lot of clothing shops); the young mother – just smiling about something her little boy said – is tending her shop and her little boy seemingly without a care in the world.

Demolition had not come close to her shop yet, but I wonder if it still exists by now…

Camera: Fuji Finepix F30

Suggested product (Click on an image for more options)

Matted print, black matte


Just hanging on (2)

Beijing 2006 - The (semi-)restaurant

Beijing 2006 - The fashion store

Artwork Comments

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