Diaspora Times Two is a photographic study of Africans living in Guangzhou, China and Chinese living in Accra, Ghana. The project brings together stories providing insights into the process of international relocation driven by economic challenges and opportunities.
Auntie Lydia sets the table for her Chinese employers who come home from work to eat a traditional Chinese lunch. She has difficulty working with a hired Chinese cook who does not speak any English. The language barrier creates a frustrating work environment; a mutual lack of cultural understanding generates distrust and anger. Accra, Ghana. 2014.
Welcoming two “fresh” workers and Chinese cook for the house, the boss takes everyone out to dinner at to celebrate. Accra, Ghana. 2015.
Alide and Yankuba, two Gambians, saved enough money to leave their country in search of jobs in China, hoping to support their family members who are farmers. “The Chinese do not offer low-wage jobs to blacks,” said Yankuba. Living on a crock-pot stew of bread, sugar, and water, the two unemployed brothers struggle to survive on the little money their parents are able to send them. Guangzhou, China. 2014.
Fang "Oliver" Zidou finds comfort and escape from traditional Chinese cultural pressures by living and working in Ghana, however overwhelming loneliness prevents the African continent from feeling like home. Trapped in cultural limbo, Zidou does not want to return to China, yet has succumbed to his parents' wishes that he marry and have a son, despite desiring neither. Accra, Ghana. 2015.
Xiao Bei neighborhood. Guangzhou, China. 2014.
The stifling hot weather of southern China deters people from the Xiao Bei market until late into the evening. Once the temperature cools, Chinese vendors come out to sell goods to Africans. Chinese police stand guard, checking African visas while video cameras placed throughout the area keep watch. Guangzhou, China. 2014.
The Ghana Chinese Commodities Wholesale Town, once inhabited by many Chinese retailers, now houses mostly Ghanaians selling bulk goods like cloth and clothing. Accra, Ghana. 2014.
In need of an escape, the brothers visit another Gambian, their friend Danny. Alide and Yankuba take the bus for over an hour to the university. While riding on public transportation, Chinese glare, refusing to sit next to them on the subway or bus. The two brothers admit that while Xiao Bei is cramped and dirty, it offers somewhere for Africans to escape persistent reminders that they are black outsiders in China. Guangzhou, China. 2014.
Wash tubs. Ghana, 2014.
Africans conducting business in Guangzhou, China often stay for 6 months to a year, making it necessary to find long term living arrangements. As in Ghana, a limited supply of electricity makes clothes dryers a luxury; residents hang the wash outside of their apartments to dry. Guangzhou, China. 2014.
Auntie Lydia washes clothing for the Chinese takes up her co-worker Henrietta’s job after her fired. The Chinese said that Henrietta was not following directions, however they spoke with Lydia about cutting her job to save the meager wages. Accra, Ghana. 2015.