Travels in the invisible China: Queensborough photo show documents the Middle Kingdom of the 1970s and today

By Priscilla Aviles

Thankfully, Leonard Kahan, an artist and experienced teacher who has taught at Queens College and Brooklyn College, strives to educate us in new ways with his latest art exhibit, “Yesterday's China,” featured at Queensborough Community College. The gallery's show is comprised of Mr. Kahan's photographs and drawings from two separate visits to China in 1976 and 2006, with a focus on the people of China rather than its notorious industrialization. Kahan's choice was deliberate. He explained that his goal when visiting China both times was “to record people and places not often seen at that time by the Western world.” Kahan succeeds with his objective, telling a unique story with each exquisite photo, giving viewers rare insight into people's lives and sparking interest in the people of China. China is not just composed of robots and machines that import the majority of our goods and build amazing engineering marvels. Kahan's photos clearly show that it is a country made up of people who laugh, shop, work and do all the things we do in the Western world. “When you see these pictures and see the faces of the children, you chuckle, and that's when you can relate and become unified,” said Barbara DeVito, a Queensborough art major alumna and elementary-school teacher who attended the exhibit's opening on March 6. “You get a real glimpse of the country and it's done so beautifully with these photos.” Kahan, who holds degrees in fine art from Pratt Institute and Brooklyn College, said, “Today in the media they'll talk about China polluting the earth, which any industrial country does; they'll talk about China as a huge industrial country building faster than any other country in the world; they'll be looking at the millions of cars. But with my photos, you'll see a different China, a more romantic vision and a more beautiful sense of the people.” “Yesterday's China” will be featured at the Queensborough Community College Art Gallery through April 4.If You GoYesterday's China – Photos and drawings by Leonard KahanDate: Through Friday, April 4Time: Tuesday & Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Wednesday & Thursday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, noon-5 p.m.; closed MondayLocation: Queensborough Community College Art Gallery, 222-05 56th Ave., BaysideFor More: www.qcc.cuny.edu/artgallery, 718-631-6396 or QCCArtGallery@qcc.cuny.edu

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