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CYJO –Substructure


On December 11th, SUBSTRUCTURE, a photographic, textual and video portrait series documenting 50 Chinese migrants will be exhibited at T. Art Center in 798, Beijing’s largest art district. The event, hosted by Compassion for Migrant Children (CMC), celebrates International Migrants Day, a day proclaimed by the UN (officially on Dec. 18th) to recognize migrants around the world. SUBSTRUCTURE will travel to Shanghai and San Francisco as a traveling exhibition.

The project had developed through a chance meeting with Jonathan Hursh, the founder of Compassion for Migrant Children. It was during a photo shoot for another art project where I learned about the meaningful work he and his team engaged in, helping migrant children through their multiple community centers in Beijing and Shanghai. After learning about the statistics behind the migrant population in China, I felt compelled to create an educational platform to help resonate the voices behind these hard working individuals, individuals who are equally important and part of the social fabric of a fast paced and developing China.

Internal migration in China is thought to be up to 150 million, which includes 20 million migrant children. It is predicted that within the next decade at least 250 million people will move from their villages to cities and townships, which would make it the largest urbanization movement in world history.

Because Chinese migrants only receive benefits in their hometown due to the hukou (official residential document) system, many migrants lack basic healthcare, quality education and live in poor conditions. With 1 in 6 people living in slum dwellings, it’s predicted that this number will double in the next 30 years.

The topic of migrant workers continues to be a global phenomenon which all developed or developing countries face. It’s an effect to the human condition. Many migrant workers tend to be newly arrived immigrants and individuals with limited skills and opportunities. The story of one embarking on a challenging journey in search of a better life and simultaneously strengthening their social fabric is an all too common global story.

This group of 50, age 5 – 80 years-old, demonstrates the myriad of roles migrant workers have that churn the modern wheel of development. Although migrant workers are most commonly known to work in construction where the fruits of their labor can be easily observed, they also serve your food, deliver your purchases, recycle your trash, clean your cities, volunteer their time to care for those in need, and strive for a better education, life and country.

Developed cities are often referred to as jungles, most commonly noted by literary Upton Sinclair in the early 20th century. These jungles are places of permanent summer where growth is continuous and Darwin’s survival of the fittest kicks in. Simultaneously, beauty is found behind this fast paced rhythm and growth. It’s manifested through the enjoyment of life created from individual existences, which compensates for the destruction and pain caused by the inevitable competition. There is something destructive and beautiful in the way jungles grow.

-CYJO, Creator and Photographer of SUBSTRUCTURE

SUBSTRUCTURE by CYJO in collaboration with CMC
Definition: Basic framework or foundation that supports a superstructure, and is supported by an infrastructure.
Collaborator: Compassion for Migrant Children (CMC), www.

December 11th – December 12th
T.Art Center, No.2, Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District
798 Art District, Beijing, China

All rights reserved. No part of substructures images or text may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, elctronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from Cyjo and CMC.

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