Photo Exhibition

Strangers No More: Village Churches on the Good Earth of the Sacred Land is designed as a traveling photo exhibition by the Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University.

The artist CAO Yuanming is a professor at the College of Fine Arts in Shanghai University. He was born in Suzhou, Anhui Province in Central China. He received his Fine Arts degree from Nanjing Institute of Arts and his master degree from Nanjing University. Cao has traveled to hundreds of villages in Suzhou, Anhui, upon which American novelist Pearl Buck’s timeless Nobel Prize-winning novel “The Good Earth” was based. Buck, a daughter and wife of American missionaries to China, did not believe Christianity would fit in the “good earth” of this ancient civilization and that the missions were bound to fail.

Ironically, decades after the Chinese Communists drove out American and European missionaries, Chinese villagers themselves have embarked on building churches for themselves. This exhibition presents a series of photographic collages from 2004-2008 focusing on Christian churches in the rural areas of Central China. Through Cao’s lens, we can see the rapid growth of Christianity in rural China, also we see the harmonious co-existence of Western Christianity and traditional Chinese culture.

The Photo Exhibition of Strangers No More: Village Churches on the Good Earth of the Sacred Land was debuted at the Purdue Galleires from August 30 to October 10, 2010. CAO Yuanming presented a lecture on “Village Churches in Central China” at the opening ceremony on September 2, 2010.

Purdue University News Service and Lafayette Journal and Courier reported this event.

Purdue News: Purdue Galleries Begins a New Season of Exhibitions, August 20, 2010
Journal and Courier: Purdue Galleries Opens New Exhibit Focusing on China and Christianity, August 29, 2010.

Three other related lectures by the world renowned scholars held during the Photo Exhibition.

ï  Why Christianity is Thriving in China Today / Fenggang Yang

ï  Individual Behaviors or Church Activities? ——A Way to Understand Christianity in Today’s China / GAO Shining

ï  The Dragon and the Dove: Nation-Statism and Catholic-Protestant Christianity in China Today / HE Guanghu