LoCA is happy to announce their first artist in Residency Yuchen Li. A Chinese Amsterdam based artist whose research investigates China’s position vis-a-vis the western imperialist projects in the global south. Though Yuchen, sees herself as part of the global south who are victims of colonial oppression, she negates not the fact she is beneficiary to the same neo-colonial matrix of power. Yuchen Li relates the Chinese government’s implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative in Africa as an enterprise that borders on neo-colonialism hence in her research, Li, poses the questions “What/How is China doing similarly or differently from the West-? And if this is pure aid than what are the perceptions/implications of the Zambian society? During her three-month residency at LoCA, Livingstone, Li will conduct field research on China – Zambia relations within Zambia using the Tazara Railway as her case study. She will work with some Zambian scholars and other experts that have worked on/with the TAZARA.
Built between 1968-1975 with the Chinese aid, the Tazara Railway has served as a “Monument of Friendship” between China and Zambia in the last 50 years. In recent years, China is increasingly involved in different types of infrastructure projects all over the African continent through its Belt and Road Initiative. In the case of Zambia, Chinese state media continues to use the ever-lasting “anti-imperialism alliance” narrative to frame their new projects in that country. Western media cast harsh criticism on China, warning participating countries of the Belt and Road Initiative that it is a “one-way road”, a “weaponised loan” or a “debt trap”. Amongst all the polarised opinions, questions raised — “Is China doing differently from the West?” or “Is China imposing its new imperialistic power in the country?” Li is interested in scrutinising and to understand the implications of China’s role, as well as her participation.
While in Zambia Yuchen Li will concentrate on personal encounters with the local communities, interact with local artists working on similar themes and local experts on the subject.