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'West to East' photography exhibit to open April 10

April 10, 2013
"Mao, Young and Old, Shanghai,"
© Ellen Mahaffy.

 "Printmaking, China" by Xiang-Yun Chen

EAU CLAIRE — The University of
Wisconsin-Eau Claire will host the exhibit "West to East" beginning April 10 in the Communication and Journalism Center of Hibbard Hall. The opening reception will be held today, April 10, from 6-7:30 p.m.

The exhibit was created by Ellen Mahaffy, associate professor of communication and journalism, and senior Xiang-Yun Chen, originally of Samming in the Fujian province of China.

The exhibition features photography that Mahaffy and Chen shot from December
2011-January 2012. The two photographers spent three weeks in China, focusing on the Yangtze River, the third longest river in the world. They stopped at various renowned heritage sites and major cities including Beijing, Chengdu, Wuhan and Shanghai.

"I was challenged with many visual juxtapositions that demonstrated the country's connections to Western ways," Mahaffy said. "I found it difficult to select just one story to tell. We are happy to share this exhibit, 'West to East,' with others."

Their body of work documents the contradictions and connections between China's traditions and rural past with patterns of industrialization along the Yangtze River. The project emphasizes the sociocultural perspectives of China through the eyes of a person from China and an American.

"This experience allowed me to see my country anew through the camera lens," Chen said. "I was able to venture into parts of China that I had never seen previously, rich with familiar smells and photographic beauty. I am pleased to share this absolutely amazing experience with UW-Eau Claire!"

Selected photos of Mahaffy's work in China have been displayed in New York, Vermont and California. Chen's other photographic work can be found at her website.

The CJC is generally open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday and from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday. The exhibit will run through May 17.

The photographers also will speak about their work from 12:10–12:50 p.m. April 15 at the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in Old Library 1142.

The international travel to China was funded by the International Fellows Program of the Center for International Education, and the exhibition was funded through the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

For more information, contact Xiang-Yun Chen at



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