•China Port Project
11 5月 2023

Guangzhou Port Project is part of the China Port Project which is a commissioning artwork of the China Port Museum. It was made by Yanmei Jiang and Wenjun Chen. It includes the video work Three Foreigners Doing Business In Guangzhou (by Yanmei Jiang) and the photography work Wandering Through Guangzhou After 2000 Years (by Wenjun Chen). This work is about Guangzhou port changes from ancient to modern and business status

Video link:
Three Foreigners Doing Business In Guangzhou, by Yanmei Jiang

Photography link:
Wandering Through Guangzhou After 2000 Years, by Wenjun Chen。

Three Foreigners Doing Business In Guangzhou:

据《广州港史》记载,秦汉之际,番禺(广州古称)港市条件逐渐成熟。两汉时期,番禺已成为当时我国史书记载唯一的港市。广州是我国沿海城市中,最早形成的港市。它很早便有海外交通和对外贸易。据《魏晋南北朝史》引阿拉伯人古行记的记载说:“中国的商舶,从公元三世纪中叶,开始向西,从广州到达槟榔屿,四世纪到锡兰,五世纪到亚丁,终于在波斯及美索不达米亚独占商权。” 从三国至隋这一期间,在国际航运业中是一个发展时期,外国商船往返中国和南洋群岛的逐渐增多。广州是当时全国的外贸中心。

According to “The History of the Port of Guangzhou,” Panyu (Guangzhou’s original name) began to grow as a port city in the Qin and Han dynasties (before Christ). As Guangzhou developed, it became China’s first real port city. During the Han dynasty, China’s foreign trade reached new heights, and ships from Guangzhou, Xuwen, and Hepu sailed toward South Asia, traversing the Indian ocean to form what was to become the Maritime Silk Road. This became a crucial element in establishing communication and exchange between the civilizations of the East and the West. From the Three Kingdoms period to the Sui dynasty, the international shipping industry began to develop; it was during the period that Guangzhou became the epicenter of all of China’s foreign trade. In the Tang dynasty, Guangzhou entered a new golden age. It blossomed into China’s largest port, and was one of the largest ports in the world at the time. Over this period, porcelain, silk, paper, copper, iron, gold, and silver all flowed out of Guangzhou as exports.

广州有一千多年的海上贸易的历史,做生意已成为广州非常重要的底蕴。就像采访对象瓦夏说:“遇到广州人,通常他们不会问你做什么工作,而是问你做什么生意。” 除了每年两届广交会,会有大量外国人来到这里谈生意,平时来广州做贸易外国人也是络绎不绝。这里聚集了全国各地的货物,不同区域批发不同类型的商品,整个城市就像一个巨大的批发市场。不同民族的面孔,不同文化和食物的碰撞,都包容在广州的市井文化里,散发着有趣的生命力。

With more than 1000 years of trade history, the business has become ingrained in Guangzhou’s culture. As one of the subjects of these photographs, Vasily Kalinin put it: “When you meet people in Guangzhou they don’t ask you what you do, they ask you what kind of business you’re involved in.” Now, especially during the twice-yearly Canton Fair, business people from all around the world make their way to Guangzhou to talk trade. Even normally during the year, there is a continuous stream of foreigners coming to Guangzhou for business. Goods from across the country are gathered together in Guangzhou, with every category of wholesale items piling up around the city as if it was one massive distribution center. A diverse array of faces, cultures, and food all meet in Guangzhou, giving the city a unique flavor and a life of its own.


The three subjects of my photographs are Vasily Kalinin, a Russian international student, Mauro Castellan, an Italian shoe entrepreneur, and Felly, an African businessman with an import-export company. They have lived in Guangzhou for many years. One of them even lived in Guangzhou for about 20 years. Through their eyes, I hope to understand Guangzhou as it is to them.