Ever since the Belt and Road Initiative was proposed, Dr. Eddy Li, a passionate photographer, has
been traveling to China, Central Asia, Western Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Southeast Asia and Africa, using art to record the culture, lifestyle, landmarks and markets of these countries.
In the 2nd century BC, Chinese official and diplomat, Zhang Qian, was sent from Chang’an on a diplomatic mission to the Western regions. He spread word of the civilization of ancient China and promoted trading of goods with local countries. As a result of this, an official trading route between ancient China and foreign countries was formed, which later extended its way to Western Asia and the countries of the Mediterranean. This route, named the “Silk Road”, was an important passage for the communication of Oriental and Western civilizations. As trades further developed, a coastal equivalent eventually developed, forming the Maritime Silk Road. Today, the “Silk Road Economic Belt” and the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” together form the One Belt One Road, which celebrates the region’s unique cultures and landscapes and, at the same time, contributes to the economic development and cultural exchange in the region.
Aside from being a successful businessman, Dr. Eddy Li is also a renowned photographer. Through his photographs, capturing iconic moments, we are able to embark on a journey of exploration, experiencing local life, admiring undisturbed nature, and witnessing the modernisation of the cities.
Thanks to history and developments in trade, many belt and road countries are places where different cultures converge, finding a way to coexist. As a result, multiculturalism is in evidence everywhere; for instance, people in Central Asia – the crossroads of the Silk Road – identify themselves by either the Islamic or Turkic ethnic culture. Meanwhile, western and oriental cultures also permeate the area. These photos beautifully demonstrate the inhabitants’ high degree of tolerance and acceptance for cultural difference.
With the Belt and Road Initiative still in the preliminary phase, areas in the region are not yet fully developed or overly affected by manpower. Incorporating local cultures into natural sceneries is a significant feature of Dr. Li’s work and recent years have provided the perfect opportunity to photograph the traditional lifestyles of the local people and their uninfluenced, uncultivated landscapes.
Along the belt and road, apart from a few well-known and economically developed cities, there are some relatively undeveloped regions including a number of countries in Africa and Central Asia. Many of these areas still remain a mystery to outsiders. Before new opportunities bring unprecedented changes to these domestic regions, we are fortunate to be able to witness them in their untouched state through Dr. Li’s iconic photography.
Belt and Road, a charity exhibition of Dr. Eddy Li, will take place at Sotheby’s S|2 Gallery in July. The event will also mark the official launch of his latest photo book Belt and Road. This is the first book of a Chinese photographer to be published by National Geographic and the new publication is inspired by the eponymous Initiative, exploring the market, sceneries and people from these regions through the photographer’s lens. Around 30 images featured in the book, accompanied by Dr. Li’s handwritten notes, will be showcased in the exhibition, with all proceeds benefiting the Hong Kong Chinese Arts and Culture Promotion Foundation.
*Works above are available for immediate purchase
Sotheby’s Hong Kong | 11–23 July 2018
Monday to Friday 10am – 6pm
Saturday 11am – 5pm
( Closed on Sunday and Public holidays )
5/F, One Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong