Marc Riboud: Hundred Flowers
The Hundred Flowers Campaign that took place during 1956-57 in China is certainly one of the more unique movements the country has seen in its modern, Communist era. But what began as a period of Communist Party-encouraged free speech, thought and participation in discussion about national policy, arts and sciences, soon became apparent as a tool for the regime to identify and punish counter-minded dissidents, with many citizens condemned to prison camps for speaking out.
During this period, after a year-long stint in India, French photographer Marc Riboud travelled to China, becoming one of the first western photographers to gain admittance under Mao’s regime. What he witnessed and captured in this ‘right place, right time’ series of pictures is the subject of the Beaugeste Gallery’s latest exhibition, Marc Riboud: Hundred Flowers. The more than 40 gelatin silver prints (many unpublished and never before seen) on display through November 15 offer insight into a fascinating, albeit brief, time when government control was relaxed and the arts and culture flourished, and represent what is arguably the most important work of Riboud’s international career. And with free exhibition admittance, it is certainly not one to be missed.