New York’s Museum of Chinese in America recently exhibited some of Brooklyn-based photographer Annie Ling’s phenomenal work—images that capture various aspects of everyday life for residents of Manhattan’s Chinatown. The 80 photographs displayed were selected from four of the artist’s series: “A Floating Population,” which catalogues the loneliness of Chinese Diaspora; “Tenements,” an examination the cramped housing situation; “81 Bowery,” a work that looks specifically at the lives of the residents in one building; and “Shut In,” an investigation into housebound senior citizens and other disabled community members.
The photographs provide an in-depth look at the post-immigration struggle to build communities in a foreign culture, where often the only work available is low-wage, unskilled labor. Constrained largely by income, many residents are forced to raise their families (including extended families) in tiny cubicle-like spaces, some no more than 64 square feet.
Overall, the project was an attempt to “look beyond the streets into the interior life of Chinatown, its domestic spaces and collective memory,” said curator Herb Tam.