This image is presented as a "thumbnail" because it is protected by copyright. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts respects the rights of artists who retain the copyright to their work. Title:Suzhou Creek, Putuo District, ShanghaiArtist:Sze Tsung Leong Date:2004Credit Line:The Paul C. Johnson, Jr. Fund and the Dr. Frances E. Schaar Fund in memory ...Accession Number:2010.84
This photograph of a development outside of Shanghai is from a series of works the artist refers to as History Images, which examine the erasure of history and the reshaping of society through the built environment. Sze Tsung Leong photographs his subject from an elevated position that focuses on the horizon, where a line of threatening office buildings and uniform apartment complexes tower over a small settlement of rural homes. This community will soon disappear in the face of progress. Once the transformation has taken place, its effacement will be so complete that one would never know a past had existed there.
As international trade and globalization enable rapid modernization that drastically alters the landscape, what is the responsibility of the world's leaders? How can they cushion the impact on groups that are adversely affected by this growth? In China, as in many other parts of the world, the lack of sustainable development has led to a serious water shortage. How can the world help those sectors of society take advantage of the benefits of globalization rather than be undermined by it?