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Odyssey: One man's visual journey of the Silk Road



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18,000 kilometres across land and sea. 10 years of travel on boat and foot. Over 10,000 images captured.

In this third instalment of Knowledge Sans Frontières, renowned Chinese photographer, explorer and academic Er Dongqiang presents breath-taking vignettes of his expedition on one of the world's most historic trade routes – the Silk Road. Drawing inspiration from a novel by 20th century Swedish adventurer Sven Hedin titled Im Herzen von Asien (In the Heart of Asia), Er retraced the footsteps of Silk Road voyagers and photographed slices of life revolving around the major thoroughfares ranging from the material to the spiritual, cultural to environmental. What resulted from his decade-long journey were archival-quality images exploring dualities of the self and the social, both past and present. At once enigmatic and incisive, they weave a spellbinding tapestry of civilisation’s evolution and what lies at the cradle of humanity. 

The session will be conducted in Mandarin and moderated by Lee Chor Lin.

About Er Dongqiang (Deke Erh)

Er Dongqiang (b. 1959, Shanghai) wears many hats as a professional photographer, explorer and researcher of visual history. Formerly a reporter and editor of the Shanghai Pictorial monthly journal, Er was one of China's foremost proponents of the concept of visual documentation as a cultural discourse. The award-winning lensman has embarked on his Silk Road project since 2000, becoming the only photographer in China to have conducted visual studies of the historic trade route over land and sea. His publications include A last look: Western architecture in old Shanghai, Hallowed halls: Protestant colleges in old China and Shanghai Vertical, amongst others.

Er Dongqiang KSF 3

About Lee Chor Lin

A museum professional for 28 years, Lee Chor Lin was the former director of the National Museum of Singapore and the current CEO of Arts House Limited, as well as a regular contributing columnist for Lianhe Zaobao. She is a recipient of the French and Italian knight of the arts and letters medal.

2. Lee Chor Lin credit Melisa Teo

About Knowledge Sans Frontières

Knowledge Sans Frontières is a lecture series by The Arts House that focuses on generating new perspectives and understanding of the world. Speakers include individuals at the forefront of their respective industries in bringing new enquiry and readings to their field of knowledge.














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