EXHIBITION: The Price of Neglect

In The Price of Neglect, Lu Guang lifts the heavy veils of human indignity shrouding ostracized communities in China from the public eye. Lu Guang’s cogent photographs expose the raw realities faced by entire villages grappling with HIV/AIDS (where poor peasants have contracted infected blood after selling their own through unregulated procedures), cancer (where industrial-related pollution has devastated agricultural land and water), and drug addiction (where drug use has reached alarming proportions along the Sino-Burmese border).

The understated set-up of Lu Guang’s exhibition at DECK features richly-pigmented photographic prints devoid of elaborate framing and mounting, in this way drawing the viewer to the image and the image alone. Indeed, the images (in terms of style and presentation) are telling of Lu Guang’s photojournalistic background and, thus, his deep engagement with the pressing social, economic, and environmental issues of a newly-industrialized China.

The presentation delivered by Lu Guang to a full house on 20th June 2015, which I caught as a ticketed attendee of the O.P.E.N. SIFA, further emphasized the salient practice of activism that not only underlies every poignant moment of human struggle captured on film by Lu Guang but also the impressive lengths through which Lu Guang invested in the communities (at the risk of his own freedom and life) as a photographer, narrator, fellow compatriot, and concerned human being.