Teresa Eng (b. 1977, Vancouver, Canada) is a photographer who lives and works in London, England. She is interested in the ever-changing world and its relationship to history. Her introspective nature has led her revisit a particular subject over a duration of time. This temporal and physical distance allows her process to her thoughts while allowing new and existing strands of ideas to merge together. Teresa’s projects explore the fragmentation of identity in the diaspora communities and in the digital world, the psychological state of trauma, and the changing nature of neighbourhoods and countries. Teresa is a recipient of the Edward Burtynsky Book Grant. She was a finalist in the Aperture Portfolio Prize, Images Vevey Book award and the Hyères 33e festival of Fashion and photography. Her first book, "Speaking of scars', was shortlisted for the 2013 Aperture/Paris Photo First Book Award. Her work has been featured in Vogue Italia, Aperture, British Journal of Photography, Dazed & Confused, It’s Nice That, Raw View Magazine, Financial Times, Invisible Photographer Asia, Photoworks and L’Oeil De La Photography.
China Dream’ explores the fractured identities that second generation diaspora experience as they’re straddled their birth country and their motherland. Teresa Eng, whose parents immigrated to Canada from China via Hong Kong, explores the country of her ancestors.
Teresa visited China between 2013-2017. Her cultural memory of a place, where she has never lived, contrasts with a China in flux. During her stays, she witnessed constant cycles of construction, destruction and reconstruction across multiple cities and its surrounding towns. This inspired the stripped back colours of her images which were achieved by meticulously created handprints in the darkroom.
Each visit offered an insight to a country that is in the process of building its future while simultaneously reconstructing and reinterpreting its past, creating a new type of culture. Historical monuments and buildings, destroyed during Cultural Revolution are being rebuilt haphazardly – often as facsimiles of the originals. The sprawling metropolis envelop the neighbouring countryside as more people move to the city – destroying an immeasurable amount of historical artefacts.
‘China Dream’ – the title of a patriotic calendar found at a newsagents –was also a term popularised in 2013 by General Secretary Xi Jinping. It also alludes to the American Dream, where hard work and entrepreneurial spirit will lift up each individual and the nation into prosperity.