China: Pingyao International Photography Festival 2010

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Pingyao International Photography Festival (PIP)

…is China’s largest and longest-running photography event and has earned itself an honoured place on the international photo-art calendar. 2010 marked the festival’s tenth anniversary and the Artistic Director, Zhang Guotian, commissioned Alasdair Foster to create a major new exhibition of Australian photomedia to mark the event.

The result was Imagining the Everyday.



  • 7 Australian artists attended
  • 9 events involved Australian delegates
  • 20 Australian artists exhibited
  • 22 pages at the front of the festival catalogue
  • 156 Australian art works displayed
  • 250+ linear metres of exhibition
  • 850 people attended the Australian events
  • 6,000 guests attended the televised opening ceremony with speech by Alasdair Foster
  • 20,000 people attended televised awards night at which Bronek Kozka won the international prize
  • 200,000 festival visitors
  • Extensive media coverage



The works presented did not deal in ‘straight’ documentary. Instead they mapped out an expressive journey between cultures, as these quintessentially Australian artworks explored ideas drawn from Chinese numerology. Arranged in 10 interconnected rooms, each featuring the work of two artists, the journey lead from yin–yang through metamorphosis, luck and prosperity to longevity and ultimately rebirth.

Imagining the Everyday presented the work of: Narelle Autio (SA), Pat Brassington (TAS), Peta Clancy (VIC), Rebecca Dagnall (WA), Marian Drew (QLD), Peter Fitzpatrick (ACT), Hayden Fowler (NSW), Murray Fredericks (NSW), Petrina Hicks (NSW), Garth Knight (NSW), Bronek Kozka (VIC), James Mellon (WA), Denis Montalbetti & Gay Campbell (NSW/Canada), Deborah Paauwe (SA), Polixeni Papapetrou (VIC), Scott Redford (QLD), Luke Roberts (QLD), David Stephenson (TAS), Lyndal Walker (VIC) and Bronwyn Wright (NT).



‘Imagining the Everyday’ was accompanied by a number of events that helped to set the exhibition into a wider cultural context. These included two guided exhibition tours with the artists and curator and a forum exploring ways in which Chinese and Australian photographers could build international networks to allow them to work together and share their skills. Murray Fredericks’ 2008 film, ‘Salt’, (made with ABC TV) was presented to a rapt audience on the festival’s giant outdoor screen.

Alasdair Foster spoke at the PIP conference, ‘The Conceptual Boundaries of Contemporary Photography’, delivering a paper entitled ‘Photography’s Third Conceptual Age’.

The festival staged two block-buster events: the opening ceremony at which Alasdair Foster spoke on behalf of the international artists, curators and guests; and a spectacular awards night at which Bronek Kozka won the international award for his works in ‘Imagining the Everyday’. Both events were broadcast live.



The exhibitions are staged in a range of large-scale post-industrial buildings and smaller religious temples within the historic walled city of Pingyao. Located in the province of Shanxi, Pingyao is a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its well-preserved city wall, constructed in the 12th century. While many of the exhibitions are Chinese there is a significant international section, which in 2010 included work from Brazil, Denmark, France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Poland, Russia, Switzerland, Taiwan, USA, and, of course, Australia.


Imagining the Everyday was curated by Alasdair Foster for the Australian Centre for Photography and presented within the Australian Commonwealth Government’s Year of Australian Culture in China. The exhibition was funded by PIP and the Australian International Cultural Council.


1. (from left to right): Alasdair Foster (curator), Bronek Kozka, Lyndal Walker, Hayden Fowler, Rebecca Dagnall, Garth Knight, Bronwyn Wright and front: Peter Fitzpatrick (photo © Alasdair Foster)
2. A public exhibition tour with artists and curator – PIP10 (photo © Garth Knight)
3. Bronek Kozka with his International Award from PIP10 (photo © Garth Knight)
4. A street scene in Pingyao’s historic walled city 2010 (photo © Alasdair Foster)


One Response to “China: Pingyao International Photography Festival 2010”
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  • The majority of the texts on this site are by Alasdair Foster and represent his opinions. However, in order to facilitate a useful diversity of views, some texts have been invited from artists and colleagues around the world, while others appear as independent comments. These opinions and comments are not necessarily those of Alasdair Foster or Cultural Development Consulting (CDC). All data and information on this site is provided on an as-is basis. While every effort is made to be as thorough as possible, neither Alasdair Foster nor CDC make representations as to accuracy, completeness, currency, suitability or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use.
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