Text & images – Magnus Lundgren
I just returned home from China after opening our beautiful Wild Wonders of Europe indoor exhibition in Shanghai at the exclusive Times Square Shopping Mall. The opening on June 11 left me filled with hope and a bit surprised as well. One of the cornerstones of the whole Wild Wonders project is to showcase Europe’s wildlife to 700 million Europeans and the World. This is really one of our first steps in the all important “World” section.
There are many fantastic and highly impressive fact and figures around the Wild Wonders communication project but the launch of first out of five indoor exhibitions on our China tour has illustrated to me important evidence of the project’s international significance. The European wildlife is amazing and interesting to people way outside Europe, to people as far afield as China, and our message is applicable wherever the project is shown. “Conservation works, we just need more of it”, has the same meaning in Europe as in China. The emotional impact of our images and the clear message coming through is simply touching to see.
The Shanghai opening
With the exhibition having pride of place in the huge shopping mall the opening was a great success with the General Manager of The Bund, Bill Fu, myself and Xi Zhinong (China’s most successful photographer) on stage. The Bund also hosted a fun quiz section where the audience was tested on their knowledge of nature topics and prints awarded as prizes. All the media became extremely excited when the famous Chinese actor Chen Kun came on stage to show his support and respect for our project.
The elegant 48 image exhibition had an extra Chinese flavour in Shanghai with ten additional images from Chinese photographers. One of Xi Zhinong’s images of a kiang, a Tibetan wild ass, running at full power over the dusty Tibetan plateau made a very strong impression on me. A moment filled with freedom, vulnerability and loneliness in a harsh environment.
The Shanghai seminar
Later the same day we hosted a special seminar for 120 guests presenting the Wild Wonders of Europe project and the stories behind the images from my seven marine photo missions. Together with Xi Zhinong, we used this as the base for opening discussions about conservation through photography. The audience was very interested, asked a lot of questions and reflected a lot of concern around the situation for wildlife in China and the country’s need for more conservation projects.
The Beijing seminar
With a tight schedule to keep, I was on show next day at noon with a second seminar, this time in Beijing where the focus was on positive communication - the “light at the end of the tunnel” highlighting Europe’s Unseen, Unexpected and Unforgettable wildlife.
During the open discussion with the audience we compared the situation of nature photography in Europe and China, finally posing the idea of creating a Wild Wonders of China – another dream project for the team.
The China Exhibition Tour
Open until 23 June, there is still time to see the Shanghai exhibition with free entry to the public! The exhibition will then tour to Beijing 10 – 19 July, Guangzhou (26 July – 5 August), Shengzhen (8 – 15 August) and Chengdu (28 August – 8 September). Please visit our website for more details or contact Sheila D Wang, our China Tour Director.
We are also working to secure two major outdoor exhibitions in China. One in Shanghai and another in Beijing. If anyone is interested in joining this endeavour as partners please feel free to contact Sheila D. Wang in Beijing.
I left China with a feeling of respect for the people and their concern, love and passion for nature. It was really great to see, and many of my preconceptions of China were scrapped. Of course China has many important decisions to make conservation wise but the passion I met gave me hope. And the first step is to realise that it is not too late.
Please note that blogs reflect our photographers' opinions and not necessarily those of the directors of Wild Wonders of Europe.