Life in Shanghai seen from the inside

03:31, Jun 02 2011
A MOMENT: One of the photos from Marc McFadyen's exhibition Cognizance

Marc McFadyen felt at home as soon as he stepped on to Chinese soil.

It made a nice change from living in France where he had a hard time liking the country.

The Glen Eden resident felt an affinity with the Chinese people and spent eight years in Shanghai, where he taught English and photographed migrant communities who had travelled there for work.

MANDARIN EXPERIENCE: Marc McFadyen spent eight years in Shanghai getting to know the locals and taking photos of them.

Some of these pictures will be shown in Mr McFadyen's upcoming exhibition Cognizance at the Packing Shed Cafe in Oratia.

The exhibition opens tomorrow and is part of the Fringe programme of the Auckland Festival of Photography on June 3-26.

It is one of several exhibitions being held in west Auckland.


Mr McFadyen travelled around Europe after graduating from Avondale College and moved to Shanghai in 2002 and learnt to speak Mandarin.

He was welcomed into the homes of the migrant communities living in Shanghai.

"They were always inviting me in for cups of tea," he says.

"I had tea coming out of my ears."

His aim in Cognizance is to convey what he observed during his eight years in Shanghai, including the environment the migrants live in and what the people are like.

"I wanted to show their beauty," the 35-year-old says.

"They're very inquisitive and wear very bright clothing."

Mr McFadyen has no professional photography training and says this makes it more difficult to maintain a visa in China, prompting him to return to New Zealand for tertiary study.

He is now in his first year of a bachelor of visual arts at Unitec and intends to return to China in the future with his Taiwanese wife Dreama.

Auckland Festival of Photography director Julia Durkin says most of west Auckland's exhibitions are by Auckland artists.

"They feature references, the culture and identity of west Auckland," she says.

Mr McFadyen's Cognizance exhibition runs until June 30 at the Packing Shed Cafe, 99 Parrs Cross Rd, Oratia.

Visit the website more information.


Transparencies Lopdell House Gallery, June 3-26 Features 1950s slides of Huia's Foster Bay and other parts of Auckland. State-Space by Caryline Boreham Corban Estate Arts Centre, 426 Great North Rd, Henderson, June 3-July 17 Examination of publicly funded institutions involved in flow of goods, information and people. Double Vision Abundance Art Gallery, 617 Te Atatu Rd, June 7-July 3. John Turner's documentary approach to Te Atatu Peninsula. Breathing Space Projectspace, Corban Estate Arts Centre, June 11 to 19 Landscapes from Antarctica to Arizona. Energy and Emotion Upstairs Gallery, Lopdell House, June 9 to July 3 Natural time-lapse photography of native trees by Rachel Mooney Don't let the bed bugs bite! West Coast Gallery, Seaview Rd, Piha, June 11 to July 10 Ideals of childhood experience, fairytales and utopian dreams by Tracey Baird.

Western Leader