Xiaoxiao Xu (Wenzhou, China, 1984) moved from China to the Netherlands in 1999 when she was a teenager. In 2009 she graduated cum laude from the Photo Academy of Amsterdam. After graduation she won The Photo Award and held her first solo show in the FotoMuseum Antwerpen. She was nominated for the Joop Swart Masterclass several times and she participates in exhibitions all over the world. In September 2014 she published her first book about her hometown in China. Today we share her series, The Sequel – The way to the golden mountain.
With photography she is trying to explore her background and roots. Her work balances in-between documentary and the autonomous. With her work she wants to create a certain kind of atmosphere, which is mystical, elusive and alienating. She wants to tell stories that evoke people’s imaginations.
The Sequel – The way to the golden mountain
Dedicated to my hometown
In 1999 I was a teenager when I moved from China to The Netherlands. In 2009 I went back to the city where I come from. Wenzhou is a large port city in the eastern province of Zhejiang with a population of three million. I was overwhelmed by the changes and the combination of memories and contemporary experiences.
In 2013 I travelled even closer to my roots, this time to the emigration towns around Wenzhou – a region from which many of the Chinese immigrants in the Netherlands come from and to the village where I was born. From the 1960s through the 1980s, the residents moved to Europe mainly for economic reasons. They nourished the dream of the “golden mountain” by sending money home without telling about the hard labor and long hours of work abroad. Inspired by the dream of a better life, most of the young people have left the emigration towns. I took photos of those who stayed behind and their surroundings. At the same time I investigated the memories from my childhood. The result is very personal and yet universal at the same time. Both series are bundled in the book “The way to the golden mountain” published by Sturm & Drang, as a homage to the place where I was born and partially raised, then left and finally rediscovered and embraced.
Xiaoxiao Xu lives and works in Amsterdam.
To see more of Xiaoxiao’s work please visit her website.