Portrait of seniors of Shui ethnic group is featured on a 2017 calendar, newly released by Amity Foundation.
The WeChat account "lailou_friends" introduces that the cover star, whose name is Shi Xuelian, smiles in the traditional ethnic clothing and the calendar ends with a group photo of some villagers.
Besides, young women who dress up for holidays, a local mountain, the scenes of the stockade, as well as the traditional culture including the horsetail embroidery and Shui characters, also show up in the calendar.
Amity Foundation took the portrait photos of the elderly in the village in July. A collection of 66 engravings was completed within the month. In the early August, these works were sent to Sandu and every elderly people in Lailou Stockade received a copy in September. Later a series of postcards were made according to the photos, to be used for the calendar. Amity recalls the project in the preface of the calendar, sharing its significance from the perspective of cultural protection and development:
"Of the total Shui population in China, 57% are found in Sandu, the only Shui autonomous county nationwide. Nestled in the mountains of the south-western Guizhou province, 66% of the county's residents are Shui ethnicity. Like what has been staging in remote and underdeveloped Chinese regions, younger generations in Sandu are flocking to cities in pursuit of better life prospects, leaving their senior and children behind. In facts, many seniors in Shui neighborhoods had never walked out of the mountains all through their lives, let alone become the focus of camera lenses.
As part of Amity's community building project in Sandu, the Internet crowd-funding project "Portrait Photographs for Shui Seniors" received funds from 5657 Internet users. This wall calendar has included images of Shui seniors captured by the photographer with the coordination of the County government and the support of local residents.
To conserve and develop is an all-the-time theme of human exploration. One Of the common challenges facing human beings is to protect and safeguard the rights of ethnic cultures and traditions to survive and thrive. Though it is indeed an ambition to fully represent, through camera shots of weather-beaten faces, the untainted simplicity, and kindness of Shui seniors, and to assist in restoring local community confidences and young generation's return to their cultural roots, the effort has been definitely worthwhile and inspired as a small step of a long journey."
"The unique world created through these photographs is an outcome of a joint group work, an abundance of life bestowed upon us by His grace. Our appreciation goes to all contributors to the collection. May peace be with everyone!" Amity added.