This photography series was made in response to the rapidly changing traditional hutong neighbourhoods of Beijing. These are areas that have been largely demolished and their residents evicted, dispersing over the years. The intense modernization process Beijing is undergoing has seriously jeopardized most aspects of Chinese cultural history.
In particular, following the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the number of Beijing hutongs, alleys formed by lines of siheyuan, traditional courtyard residences, has dropped dramatically as they are torn down to make way for new roads, apartment buildings, and real estate speculation.
Intensified by the sound installed directly next to the images, Shavrova’s light boxes offer a glimpse of Beijing hutong’s daily life, allowing a nostalgic and intimate insight into a vanishing traditional culture while preserving them over time. Most of the images and sounds were recorded on October 1st 2009 in the hutong neighbourhood where the artist lived herself, on the date when the whole of China celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the foundation of the People’s Republic.