Danish Culture Center in Beijing’s Photo exhibition features stories of Chinese and Swedish disabled people

Photo of Xiao Jia by Cong Yan. /CGTN

The Danish Culture Center in Beijing’s “AccessAbility” exhibition features stories about several individuals from China and Sweden who all have different disabilities but who do not let these disabilities define them or limit them.

The exhibition shows 26 photos from Sweden and China and the independent Chinese photographer, Cong Yan, shot 12 of the photos in China.

In an interview with Media CGTN, Cong Yan said, “This exhibition intends to combat stereotypes against people with disabilities, especially in the Chinese context. I think we still tend to think that people with disabilities are weak and dependent on other people or they have to be taken care of by other people. I really want to show a different side of this group, I want to show that a lot of them are dignified, and a lot of them are independent.”

“I just want them to present themselves as they want in front of the lenses.” Cong Yan said.

Amongst the portraits is Chinese Xiao Jia who leads a group of visually impaired girls to teach them how to do make-up. Her aim is that more people like her will learn from her story.
“I want other disabled women to realize their lives have a lot more possibilities. Through persistent trials, the future path is broadened for visually impaired women, it’s not just giving massages or getting married or having children,” Xiao Jia said.

“Twenty-six photos could not tell the full stories of 90 million disabled people in China, or those of 70,000 in Sweden. But their voices should be heard, along with their desire for equal treatment” Cong Yan added.

The exhibition at the Danish Cultural Center in Beijing runs until May, along with a series of workshops during the weekends.

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