Thursday, May 27, 2010

上海 (Shanghai)

This week I took a break from cold, gray Dalian and headed down to Shanghai and Hangzhou for a mini-vacation. While I haven't submitted my grades, I'm pretty much done teaching and I wanted to take advantage of my dwindling time here. My main reason for going to Shanghai was pretty minor - I wanted to see the Propaganda Poster Art Center, which is a small gallery featuring original posters from the 1950's through the 1970's. There's something about Communist-era art and propaganda that I find really fascinating, so I was jazzed about this idea. What I didn't realize is that I would completely fall in love with Shanghai as a city. It's a really amazing mix of new and old, and it's full of narrow, leafy streets and 1920's architecture and alleyways and bizarre skyscrapers on the river.

I also stayed in a great neighborhood, which was the former Jewish ghetto. (Many Jews fled to Shanghai during World War II). The area is called the Hongkou district and it was full of busy streets, old architecture, markets, and friendly people, who complimented me on my awful Chinese.

(China in a nutshell: a woman cleans and slices eels in front of a local cell phone shop)

And of course, the Propaganda Poster Center did not disappoint. I was surprised how anti-American some early posters were, and how beautiful some of the later posters and woodcuts were. A few unique highlights:

Work together to smash Russian revisionism!

Carry out birth control for revolution!

1 comment:

  1. I love seeing your pictures of places I've been. :)