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Eight Stories: Chinese identity in rural Britain

Date: Friday 26 April – Thursday 6 June 2024
Location: Clare Hall, Herschel Road, Cambridge CB3 9AL

“When people ask where I am from, I reply ‘I am English’, anticipating the follow up question ‘Where are you really from?” – Jamie Lau

Clare Hall is proud to present an exhibition by British-born Chinese photographer Jamie Lau. The display of photographs was originally commissioned by the British Library, as an event to accompany their exhibition ‘Chinese and British’ from 2022-2023.

Jamie Lau Eight Stories: Mark Nam

Lau was born in London but grew up in a village in Bedfordshire, with no extended Chinese community in the area. Far from feeling culturally isolated, Lau says that he felt no different from those around him: his home has always been intrinsically part of his identity. “Whilst I may never have been Chinese enough, or English enough to some, these questions of identity seem less polarised today. As society grows more used to a multicultural landscape, the need to define identity through ethnic heritage alone has lessened,” Lau says.

The exhibition is titled ‘Eight Stories,’ a reference to the lucky number eight in Chinese culture. Through his personal involvement with photography, Lau has weaved together his eight subjects, their stories and their settings, to tell us about Chinese people who have forged an identity away from metropolitan life. Lau has sought to capture individuals of Chinese heritage who, like himself, identify with being part of more than one culture.

The exhibition is free, and runs from 26 April 2024 to 6 June 2024 in Clare Hall’s Main Building.

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