This event coincides with a new display of Chinese photobooks on view at Tate Modern. Hear about these publications as well as a larger selection temporarily on view at the Library and Archive Reading Rooms at Tate Britain.
In 1949, years of devastating armed conflicts between the Chinese Communists and the government of the Republic of China ended with Communist control of Mainland China. Mao Zedong, the Communist Party leader, declared the founding of the People's Republic of China. In the following decades, China sought to strengthen international relations with other countries. Mao and his government wanted to construct a new national identity and an image of China in a period and project called New China. To aid this, they replaced private publishing houses with government-sanctioned bookmaking. These official publishers made books documenting images of religious expeditions and large-scale sports competitions. The photographers names and identities were not recorded, as these publications were intended to be the voice of the new nation, not any individual. The photobooks were distributed nationally and internationally, with captions in Arabic, English, Indonesian and Russian.