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Hidden Glory

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In collaboration with VSCO, we recently explored Shanghai’s Jinhuanghuang secondhand market, one of the last of its kind in the city, to find out what makes it so special. All of the images in this story were edited with the powerful presets and tools that come with VSCO X. Click here to start your free, seven-day trial.

I thought I’d prepared myself, but when I finally found the Jinhuanghuang General Wholesale Market, I was still taken aback.

Jinhuanghuang is tucked away between West Gaoke Road and the elevated highway of South Pudong Road. Even with GPS guidance, the cab driver had trouble finding it. In retrospect, the difficulty of even locating the market’s entrance foreshadowed its labyrinthian interior, where a mishmash of shops hawking old appliances, antiques, and secondhand clothing stretched out everywhere you looked. The people, however, you could count on one hand.

I’d been to the market more than once, back when it was still on Dingxi Road. Yet its new incarnation left me a bit shocked: everything had changed.

我们与 VSCO 携手走进上海仅存的二手服装交易市场之一“金煌煌”,试图向大家记录和呈现这个市场所经历过的辉煌。本文中所有照片都通过 VSCO X 强大的预设及编辑工具。现在就开启你的 7 天免费 VSCO X 试用创意之旅吧。




The “Hidden” Market


Sprawling across two floors, Jinhuanghuang is the successor to two different secondhand markets that no longer exist: one on Yuntai Road in Pudong, on the east side of the river, and one on Dingxi Road in Changning district. It offers all kinds of secondhand wares, but it’s still mainly a destination for the vintage apparel trade, as its alternate English name – “Golden Glory Textile Market” – makes clear.

Oddly, since the market isn’t small, the shops are packed tightly together. The cramped feel, along with a lack of ventilation and daylight, gives the place the damp, musty smell of flea markets everywhere. Still, the shop owners say they’re grateful for the space.





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On the day I visited, I ran into several shop owners who had relocated from the old markets. Still as enthusiastic ever, each one without exception called out to the people passing by: “Come on in and take a look!” When I told them I used to be a regular at the old location, they opened up even more.

“This place is a bit out of the way, but it’s huge,” one shop owner told me in Shanghainese. “It’s actually been over a year since we moved from Dingxi Road.”

“That long?” I gasped. “I only recently heard about this place from a friend of a friend, and I decided to make a special trip out here today.”




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Reportedly closed for fire safety concerns, the market on Dingxi Road was slated for demolition. The plans kept getting delayed, until one day, without warning, it finally did get demolished, and within a few weeks, no trace of the market remained.

“They tore it down so fast. They cleared everyone out in no time at all, and in the last few days, we were selling at fire-sale prices because we had to leave behind what we couldn’t sell,” the shop owner recalled, voice tinged with regret or sadness.



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“This new spot is pretty hard to find,” I said to the shopkeeper. “If one of my friends hadn’t been here before, I would’ve had no idea where to go.”

He laughed. “Yeah. When I first moved in, the whole market was a ghost town. No one came here.”

Even after I found the entrance, I got lost again amid the sprawl of shops. Only after wandering around in circles for a while did I finally stumble across a stairwell next to a stall. Above the dimly lit stairs, looking like a long-lost friend, a sign read “An’xi Fashion Market.”

But now, after a year, patrons of the old market have begun returning, and business has picked up. “Still, it doesn’t compare to what it was like before,” the shopkeeper sighed.





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Less is More


Maybe because I saw so little foot traffic, the clothing selection seemed especially broad. Mountains of second-clothing from overseas sat waiting to be ironed and put up for sale.

Wholesale secondhand markets like this used to be quite large and do a brisk business. Bundles and bundles of clothes would arrive and get sent off again within a few days.

“In the old days, when the market was still on Dingxi Road, it was a madhouse! People would show up just after 9:00 in the morning, and on the busiest days we wouldn’t close till after 11:00,” recalled Xiao Chen, another shop owner. “Back then my son was just a little boy, and now he’s 29!”





“最早的时候,市场还在老定西路靠近愚园路的地方。那时候是真忙,每天早上九点多就有人来了,最热闹的时候要到晚上十一点才好关门。”老板娘小陈与我说道,“那时我的儿子才只有几岁,现在已经 29 了!”

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“Sounds like you’re a veteran!” I grinned.

“Not at all,” she laughed. “The real veterans have all retired. I’m one of the younger ones.”

As we made small talk, I rummaged through her clothing, looking for potential additions to my wardrobe.

Each shop arranges clothes in its own way, mostly because the shop owners all choose their clothing differently. Some shops lay the items out right in front, with clearly marked prices ranging from a few dozen to a few hundred renminbi. Some are more selective, and some specialize in outerwear, intimate wear, or secondhand items from international brands. Sometimes you even find things by Gucci, Louis Vuitton, or Dolce & Gabbana, sold at a fraction of the original price.




这里的衣物分类方式与众不同,主要也是因为各家店主们的选衣定位不同。有很多店铺的衣服直接铺陈在外面,几十块到几百块不等,明码标价;有些店铺则精挑细选,或是专卖外套、内搭,或是主营国际大牌的二手老款,很多诸如 Gucci、LV、Dolce & Gabbana 等国际品牌,也会在此露脸,并且以低于市场价好几倍的价格抛售。

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Xiao Chen says there used to be even more kinds of shops, with some that specialized in leather accessories and clothing. Many of the most famous vintage or buyer shops in town still source items from Jinhuanghuang. “My customers range from older folks out for a deal to merchandisers who come to buy in bulk,” she explained.

When a regular shows up, Xiao Chen brings out the latest items, often still bunched out and wrinkled in large bags. As a favor she lets them comb through the clothing before it even makes it onto the shelves.



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A Hundred Different Styles


In Shanghai, where it can feel as though things get more expensive by the day, the market’s down-home prices are a rarity.

That’s why fashionistas from nearby universities come here to shop: the deals are good and the styles are quirky, with plenty of clothes to choose from. But perhaps an even bigger draw are the shop owners themselves, especially the women, who all have their own unique style and are happy share a few fashion tips.





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That’s especially true of the shop owner Li Zi.

Her shop was one of the main reasons I came, and she certainly lived up to her reputation.

Dressed in a colorful sweater, she excitedly offered fashion advice as I browsed her racks of clothes.

“He’s tall and skinny. I think he’ll look better with loose, baggier clothes,” she told another customer before turning to me. “Those dress pants are a bit flamboyant, but if you pair them with a solid-colored top, I guarantee they’ll look amazing.”





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“You’ve got a real eye for fashion. Do you ever help your kids pick out what to wear?” I asked.

“My son used to look down on these clothes because they were secondhand. But now that he’s got a job and has learned a thing or two, he’s slowly taking an interest. Now he says, ‘Mom, this brand’s too expensive! My boss wears clothes that cost only a few thousand, and what I have on costs ten times as much,” she laughed.

Here, if you’ve got a keen fashion sense, you can create an eye-catching look with seemingly ordinary vintage wear. You don’t need a lot of money to put together an outfit, just patience and personal taste. After a day spent scavenging the market, while some visitors might come away empty-handed, others might walk out with armfuls of loot.





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For all the warmth the shop owners show, they’re noticeably on their guard. Each time I asked, “Ayi, do you have a business card?” the answer was a resounding “no.”

This is because of the legal gray zone these shops operate in. On the one hand, they want more people to know about the market, so they’ll get more customers and do more business. But they’re even more worried that too much exposure might hasten the market’s closure.  “It’s only a matter of time before this place is demolished, too,” they told me.




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As the last of the daylight receded, and I slowly made my way outside, I turn back to take one final look at the market. The neon red sign seems to be using its last remaining strength to illuminate the words “Golden Glory Textile Market.” But once I crossed the hectic traffic of West Gaoke Road, an overpass blocked the market from view. And just like that, it was gone.

天色渐晚,我慢慢踱出市场,回身一看,那块红色的招牌好像用它仅剩的一点微不足道的力气追赶着印着“ GOLDEN GLORY TEXTILE MARKET ”,但一穿过车流不息的高科西路,一切都被巨大的天桥挡住,什么也看不到了。

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Begin your free VSCO X trial today for access to the complete VSCO preset library, newest editing tools, and inspiring educational content.

今天就开启你的 VSCO X 免费试用,获取整套 VSCO 滤镜库、最新修图工具和教程内容吧。

Contributor: Chen YuanShou Xing
Photographer: Chan Qu

供稿人: Chen YuanShou Xing
摄影师: Chan Qu

The Laundrymen



In India and nearby regions, the word dhobi refers to an artisan caste of washermen and women. When combined with the word ghat, which is defined as a set of steps leading to a river, it forms dhobi ghat, a term used in the region that refers to any place where washermen and women go to wash clothes. However, more often than not, when people mention dhobi ghat, they’re talking about the most famous one of them all – the Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat, which has been dubbed as the largest open-air laundromat in the world.

在印度和周边地区,“Dhobi”洗衣工的意思,而“Ghat”则是“河坛”,指的是一系列通往河流的台阶。这两个单独的词组合在一起时,就成了“洗衣工河坛”——“Dhobi Ghat”,指任何洗衣工(和女工)一起洗衣服的地方。但很多时候人们提及 Dhobi Ghat 时,往往联想到的都是最有名的马哈拉施特拉邦洗衣坊(Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat),它也是世界上最大的露天洗衣坊。

Built in Mumbai during the 1890s to cater the laundry needs of the British and Parsi population, Dhobi Ghat has stood the test of time and remains in operation even after 120 years. The wash pens are comprised of over 700 interlocked grids, and within the patterned geometry of these concrete enclosures, an army of men and women are hard at work, washing away; above them, an array of colored fabrics are hung out to dry, gently swaying to the rhythm of the wind.

位于孟买的马哈拉施特拉邦洗衣坊,建于 1890 年代,最初是为了满足当地英国人和帕西人(Parsi,来自古代波斯地区的移民及其后裔)的洗衣需求而建造的。即使饱经了 120 年风雨沧桑,这个露天洗衣坊如今仍在运作。700 多个混凝土制成的洗衣池纵横交错,形成 Dhobi Ghat 洗衣坊的网格状结构。在洗衣池的几何网格中,男男女女组成的洗衣工大军正努力清洗衣服;在他们上方,五颜六色的衣服被挂出晾干,随风轻轻摇曳。

Washing machines are in common usage throughout Mumbai in modern times, but over 100,000 garments are still hand washed in Dhobi Ghat daily. From government services to private businesses, clothing is ferried in throughout the day from different locations across the city to be soaked, cleaned, slapped on flogging stones, dried, and ironed before being delivered back to the respective businesses and households.

即使是洗衣机在整个孟买都很普遍的今天,每天仍有超过 10 万件衣服会在 Dhobi Ghat 的洗衣坊进行手洗。从政府部门到私营企业,这里会全天候地收到从孟买各地运来的需要清洗的衣服。随后,洗衣工人先将它们浸泡、清洗,再在石头上敲打,然后烘干、熨烫,最后洗好的衣服就会被送回各家公司或家庭。

Despite the opportunities and historical significance of Dhobi Ghat, the plot of land that it sits on is regarded as prime real estate. In a rapidly developing Mumbai, many opportunists see the aging neighborhood as nothing more than a nuisance that’s preventing good money to be made. The wash pens of Dhobi Ghat is protected as a heritage site, but the surrounding neighborhood isn’t as fortunate. Over 200 families are still living in Dhobi Ghat but certain areas of the neighborhood have already been demolished.

“This is the 3rd generation of my family living here,” says Bala, a 20-year-old dhobi living in the neighborhood. “I work here in the morning and then go to college later in the day. This place has helped my family sustain a livelihood.”

尽管 Dhobi Ghat 洗衣坊拥有着很多机会和历史意义,但对快速发展的孟买城市来说,它所在的这块土地被认为是房地产开发的黄金地段。许多机会主义者认为,这个老龄化的街区不过是个妨碍赚钱的麻烦罢了。虽然现在 Dhobi Ghat 的洗衣池已经被作为文化遗产保护起来,但周围街区却没这么走运了。如今,在 Dhobi Ghat 洗衣坊地区附近依然生活着 200 多户家庭,但该地区的许多楼房已经被拆毁。

20 岁的洗衣工 Bala 就生活在这片地区。Bala 说:我们家三代都在这里生活。我白天在这里工作,晚些时候再去大学上课。正是因为这洗衣坊,我的家庭才得以在这座城市里维持生计。

One of the best vantage points of Dhobi Ghat is from an overpass directly above the wash pens where you can observe the washermen below, all moving with speed and purpose like a beautiful, choreographed dance. However, from the same vantage point, Mumbai’s growing skyline looms in the distance, casting a solemn gaze at the dilapidated housing before it, almost as if willing Dhobi Ghat to succumb to the forces of modernization. As greed and modernization continue encroaching on traditional ways of life, those still living in Dhobi Ghat face an uncertain future.

参观 Dhobi Ghat 的最佳地点之一,是在洗衣池正上方的一座桥。在那里,你可以俯瞰整个洗衣坊,洗衣工穿梭来去,像一组美丽且有序的舞蹈。而同样地,站在桥上,你也能看到孟买迅速崛起的城市天际线在远处若隐若现,它的光芒笼罩住面前破旧的房屋,就好像要让 Dhobi Ghat 洗衣坊屈服于现代化的力量一样。人们对财富的贪婪,加之现代化的逐步侵蚀,让这些还在 Dhobi Ghat 洗衣坊努力维持生计的人们,不得不面对难以确定的未来。

Contributor, Videographer & Photographer: Omkar Phatak

供稿人、视频与图片摄影师: Omkar Phatak

Between the Keys



“Look at you sir, you looked handsome as a young man,” I remark, glancing at some old photos sitting out on a desk.

Not skipping a beat, Bejon Madan fires back with a grin, “You mean to say I’m not handsome anymore, is it?”


Bejon Madan毫不犹豫地笑着反问道:“那你的意思是说我现在不帅了,是吗?”

At 73 year olds, Madan appears unaffected by his age; a youthful vigor glimmers in his eyes and resonates through his voice. Bejon Madan is the owner of General Office Typewriters, a typewriter repair workshop in Mumbai, India. Located on the fourth floor of an inconspicuous building, Madan’s workshop is a small place with only two windows, which, surprisingly, provides more than enough light for him to work. The shop’s sign, which has turned brown with the passing time, is revealing of the decades that the shop has remained in business. Madan has spent most of his life here and has witnessed the city’s transformation over the course of time, including the unfortunate decline of typewriters.

Bejon Madan已经73岁,但他身上好像根本看不出年龄的痕迹——他的声音和眼睛,也依然闪耀着年轻的活力。他是General Office Typewriters的老板,那是位于孟买一幢老房子四楼的一间小型打字机修理工作室。Madan 的工作室地方很小,只能容纳几个人,工作室的招牌经历了几十年的时光洗礼,已经泛黄。阳光从两个窗口照进来,让他有足够的光线来修理那些打字机。Madan一生中大部分时间都是在这里度过的,在漫长的岁月里,他见证了这座城市的转变。

“My grandfather started this shop in 1960, and after the workload became heavy, he requested for me to join him,” Madan recalls. “I accepted the offer and joined the business back in 1976.” Even now, over so many years, the place still exudes a lingering charm from the heydays of the typewriter era.


Back in the day, Madan often worked with local, big-name clients, which included the likes of Union Bank of India and The New India Assurance. There was a constant demand for technicians, and they had a massive team of workers under them who travelled the length and breadth of the city keeping typewriters in best health. “Our workers are well trained in spotting typewriter defects,” Bejon proudly says. “There has never been a case where we haven’t been able to figure out a solution. We made sure that your typewriter stays in the best working condition.”

以前,他们服务的客户包括了本地的大牌公司,譬如New India Assurance 和Union Bank of India,工作源源不断地进来,工作室里的员工规模很大,他们穿梭于这座城市的各个角落,确保打字机的出色工作状态。Madan自豪地说:“我们的员工都很训练有素,他们懂得如何查找打字机的故障。从来也没有我们修不了的打字机。我们能确保客户的打字机处于最佳的工作状态。”

I see one of the workers opening a vintage Remington Noiseless to examine an issue, and it occured to me that this was actually my first time seeing the inside of a typewriter. “This young girl dropped by in the morning and gave us this typewriter to repair,” Madan tells me, noticing my curiosity. “It belongs to her grandfather, but she wants to start using it now. People still come in to get their machines repaired, but other people come in just to donate their typewriters. We have a vintage Remington, a Godrej Prima, and a a Brother Charger 11 because some people thought of them as burdens. They don’t understand their real value.”

我看到员工打开一台老式的Remington Noiseless打字机,要查找它的故障。我突然发现,这实际上是我第一次看到打字机的内部。Madan说“一个年轻的女孩上午过来,让我们修理这台打字机。这台打字机是她祖父的,但她想现在开始用。现在依然会有人拿打字机来修理,但也有其他人只是过来捐掉他们的打字机的。我们收到过一台老式的Remington,一台Godrej Prima,和一台哥 Brother Charger 11,因为有些人会觉得它们是负担。他们不知道这些打字机的真正价值。”

When computerization set in, life as Madan knew it would never be the same again. As technology advanced, typewriters faded out of the public consciousness and Madan’s business began to feel the effects. But even now, Madan doesn’t see typewriters as just a commodity – they were a way of life. He sees them as beautiful fragments of the past and the value he attributes them is evident in his persevering efforts to preserve these slices of history.


There are few places in Mumbai, or other cities in India, where typewriters are still in use, but they’re still clinging on. They might still be found in places like the local courts, notaries, or in a few lawyer’s offices. Though they’re being used less and less, Madan still finds a way to keep his business going. With both a sense of hope and sadness, he says, “What concerns me is how the kids of today may remain unaware of the beautiful yesterday. Beauty never fades; the shine may go but beauty goes on forever and that shall always be the case with typewriters.”


Contributor, Photographer, and Videographer: Omkar Phatak

供稿人,图片摄影师与视频摄影师: Omkar Phatak

Building Bridges Through Dance

From left: Suleman Malik, Bilal Malik and Nasir Sirikhan.

Quick Style is an Oslo-based international dance group and creative agency best known for their unique style and infusion of various Asian cultures in their projects, with one of their most notable being the Strawhatz concept. The latest manifestation of their passion for dance comes in the form of Quick Style Studio Chinaa collaborative studio created with China’s Sinostage, which debuted last year in Chengdu. With this project, they’re eager to show that dance is an activity anyone can partake in as well as showcase the value of dance as an outlet of creativity and self-expression. Since opening, the joint-run studio has often invited international teachers to open a cross-cultural dialogue with Chengdu’s local community using the language of dance. At a time when many are speaking of building walls, Quick Style shows us how we can build bridges through dance and cultural exchange. To better understand Quick Style’s cross-cultural entrepreneurship efforts, we talked to Bilal Malik, one of the three co-founders of Quick Style, to find out more about their work and experiences in China.

Quick Style是来自挪威奥斯陆的一支国际舞蹈团体和创意机构,向来以独特的创意风格和对各种亚洲文化的融合而闻名,其中最为人熟知的莫过于其推出的Strawhatz 舞蹈项目。Quick Style Studio China正是他们对舞蹈那份热爱的最新见证,这是Quick Style和Sinostage合作创办的工作室。从2016年成立以来,这个工作室已经成为一个文化与创意的中心。这个项目背后的理念是,舞蹈属于所有人,可以让人们以充满创意和健康的方式来表达自我。在当下这个人们相互间“筑墙”设防的时代,Quick Style向人们展示着如何建立起沟通的桥梁。为了加深理解Quick Style在跨文化产业上所作的努力,我们和它的创始人之一Bilal Malik聊了聊,试图了解更多关于他们在中国的工作和经历。

Quick Style teaching a class at the studio in Chengdu.
Koharu Sugawara, world-famous dancer and choreographer from Japan leads a class.

Neocha: How did the idea to start a Quick Style dance studio in China come about? What was it about the country that made it stand out as a potential location for your second studio?

Bilal Malik: The idea came about on our first trip to China. We checked out different dance communities and held workshops all over China. We explored the food, culture, music, people, and different places of China; we also met up with dancers around the country. We realized that it was not like Europe, the U.S., or any other Asian countries we have been to. The dancers here had a lot of emotion. We felt that Chinese dancers have a bright future. We also felt that they would bring a new wave of honest flavor to the whole world dance community. We started talking about how Chinese dancers will grow very fast since people had begun to accept the urban dance lifestyle. It was very clear to us that they are on the right track because they bring all kind of choreographers to teach dance across China.

Then on our last trip, we met Koko, the CEO of Sinostage. She had very different moves than anyone else. She has a passion and mindset that we’ve not seen in many people. She thinks about her people and wants to make dance huge in China, to change people’s lives! We connected very easily. Her passion moved us and we decided very quickly to do business and open a collaborative studio together. Our mission is to provide some Scandinavian mindset to the Chinese community. The country has so much potential. After being in China we have learned a lot. We know that we still have a lot more to learn, and we are sure that whatever we do here, it will be game changing for all of us.

Neocha: 怎么会选择在中国开设Quick Style舞蹈工作室?这个国家具有什么与众不同的潜力吗?

Bilal Malik: 我们第一次来中国时就已经有这个想法。我们在中国各地看到了不同的舞蹈团体,也举办过各种工作坊。我们深入地去了解中国的美食、文化、音乐、人以及不同的地方,去认识各地的舞者。我们意识到,这里不像欧洲、美国或其它我们去过的亚洲国家,这里的舞者有很饱满的情感。中国的舞者前景很大,我们相信,他们能给全世界的舞蹈界带来一种更真实的风格。我们开始谈到一旦人们开始接受urban dance的风格后,中国舞者的数量会增长得非常快。我们非常清楚,中国舞者的发展是在正确的轨道上的,因为他们会把不同风格的舞蹈编导都邀请到中国各地去教学。


Moving in sync - a class with Toby DeeDaran from Oslo, Norway.

Neocha: Can you tell us more about the process of making this project a reality?

Bilal Malik: The process was really interesting when I look back at it. Once we decided to open a studio together with Sinostage, things moved pretty quickly. We got to witness that Chinese people, or especially Koko, do not joke around when they work! We discussed the design and details and she started immediately. Not long after, there we are at the opening. It happened very fast, and we jumped into something very new for all of us. I believe that both parties have learned a lot from the process, and our relationship with Sinostage is still growing every day. Koko is an extremely talented woman and knew our taste even only after knowing us for such a short amount of time. We trusted her on every decision.

Neocha: 能跟我们分享一下是如何实现这个项目的吗?

Bilal Malik: 当我回过头来看,会觉得这个过程其实非常有趣。我们决定和Sinostage一起开办工作室后,一切就进展得很快了。中国人工作时真的很认真,尤其是Koko!我们讨论过设计和细节之后,她就会立即开始行动。感觉一眨眼,我们就到了开幕日。一切都进展得非常快,那是对我们所有人来说全新的体验,双方在过程中都学到了很多,我们与Sinostage的关系也在变得越来越好。Koko是一位非常有才华的女性,在我们相处了很短的时间后,她就已经清楚明白我们的风格。我们很信任她作出的每一个决定。

Welcome to Quick Style X Sinostage

Neocha: You’ve referred to Chengdu as your second home. What is it about that city that makes it so special to you? What traits have you observed that makes it stand out from other cities in China?

Bilal Malik: Chengdu is a special place for us. Of all the places we’ve been in China, Chengdu always treats us well, and we get a different vibe of the city every time we go there. They are definitely leading in terms of style and art. They are open-minded people and the city is growing very fast. There’s always something to do, and we also love the spicy food.

Neocha: 你曾经说过成都是你的第二个家。为什么它对你来说这么特别?就你看来,它和中国的其他城市有什么不同?

Bilal Malik: 成都对我们来说是一个特别的地方。在我们去过的所有中国城市中,成都总能让我们有不错的体验,并且每次去成都,我们都会有不一样的感觉。在时尚和艺术方面,这座城市绝对是领先的。这里的人们思想开放,城市的发展非常迅猛。在这里永远也不会觉得无聊。当然了,我们也很喜欢这里辛辣的美食。



Neocha: Now that Quick Style Chengdu has been open for a year, what kind of changes have you observed in China’s dance scene since?

Bilal Malik: The dance scene has changed a lot in China since we opened the studio. We don’t think it’s only because of us and the dance studio with Sinostage. The whole community is working together every day to make dance huge in China. Right now, China is arranging some of the biggest events, workshops, and TV shows for dance. Sinostage is doing a great job working with everyone, being open-minded, and making the studio open to all kinds of people. I feel that now, Chinese dancers have more confidence and are moving towards finding their own style. More dancers and a higher level of competition both lead to finding an original way of doing things. In addition to this, the dancers put a Chinese flavor into their art and performance, which makes it very unique.

Neocha: Quick Style Studio成立至今已经一年了,这期间你看到国内舞蹈界有没有发生什么变化?

Bilal Malik: 从我们成立了这个工作室之后到现在,中国的舞蹈界发生了很大的变化。当然这不是单靠我们或与Sinostage合作的舞蹈工作室就能带来的变化。而是整个舞蹈界的共同努力,才得以令舞蹈在中国的影响力变得这么大。眼下,中国正在筹办一些和舞蹈有关的大型活动、工作坊和电视节目。Sinostage和所有人的合作都很棒,他们的心态非常包容,欢迎各种各样的人加入。我觉得,现在的中国舞者更自信了,也正在逐渐找到自己独特的风格。越来越多的舞者,越来越高水平的竞争,这些都有助于他们去发现创意。除此之外,他们的作品和表演中因为加入了一些中国风格而变得更加独特。



Neocha: What is the reason behind sending dancers from Quick Style Studio Oslo to Chengdu? Why is this cross-culture exchange so important to you?

Bilal Malik: There are lots of reasons why it’s important for us to send dancers from Oslo to Chengdu. We believe our dancers grow not only in dance by traveling to teach, but grow in a bigger sense by experiencing another culture. Every time dancers from Quick Style come back to Olso, they come back with a bag full of experiences. They become a little bit more mature about their own life. They’ve just spend three months in one of the biggest countries in the world! Being in a place with different language, food, and ways of thinking, they’re challenged by new situations every day. In the end, they come back stronger and see the world differently. In addition to this, the instructors from Oslo represent us in Chengdu. They are there to share with and learn from the other dancers. Overall, it’s a great cultural and artistic exchange.

Neocha:为什么要把Quick Style在奥斯陆的舞者带到成都来?为什么跨文化的交流对你来说如此重要?

Bilal Malik: 之所以把奥斯陆的舞者带到成都是出于很多考虑的。我们的舞者不仅能通过到国外教学来提升自己的舞蹈水平,更能通过体验另一种文化获得更大意义上的成长。每次Quick Style的舞者回到奥斯陆,他们都是带着丰富经验回来的。他们的人生态度也会变得更加成熟。毕竟他们在全球最大的国家之一生活了三个月啊!在这种有着不同语言、食物和思维方式的地方,他们每天都会遇到新的情况,新的挑战。最后,他们回来时会变得更强大,也能够用不同的角度去看待世界。除此之外,去成都教学的奥斯陆舞者就代表着我们。他们去那里是去分享的,也是去跟其他舞者学习的。总的来说,这是一次非常棒的文化和艺术交流。



Neocha: What is your approach to teaching dance?

Bilal Malik: We really do not see ourselves as teachers or our workshops as being regular “dance” classes. We feel that we share ourselves more than teach them something specific. We can’t teach anyone to dance. We believe everyone can dance. We feel sharing ourselves with people in our workshop will open some gate in their mind, to grow or learn something that can make either a small or big change in their life.  We are happy to continue sharing because over the years we’ve witnessed tremendous change in many people lives – that is our biggest motivation today.

Neocha: 你是如何传授舞蹈的?

Bilal Malik: 我们真的不认为自己是老师,我们的工作坊也不是普通意义上的舞蹈课堂。更多的是分享,而不是去教什么具体的东西。你是不能教人跳舞的。因为我们相信,每个人都会跳舞。但是通过分享,我们可以帮他们变得更放得开,去成长或学习,让他们的生活产生或大或小的改变。我们很高兴可以继续这样的分享,因为多年来,我们已经见证了很多人在生活上发生的巨大变化,而这也是我们今天最大的动力。



Neocha: If you think about the bigger picture and the vision for Quick Style, what role does China or Asia in general play in it?

Bilal Malik: For Quick Style’s vision for the future, China – and Asia as a whole – is very important for us. We grew up as Asians in a Western country like Norway. We see ourselves as Norwegian with a unique cultural understanding because of our strong cultural ties through our families. We were lucky to grow up in a place that’s very open-minded. Many people or countries do not have that privilege. We believe we have the experience, knowledge, and sensitivity to build cultural bridges between different countries. Whenever we interact with people, we choose to go deeper and find what people really feel and like because we care about them.

Asia is a very important place for us. You can find inspiration and discover strong cultural roots almost everywhere. We really believe that art is for everyone and that art is a very important thing for the society. This is why we want to make sure we continue to inspire people with our art and keep growing the movement of creative and cultural interactions.

Neocha: 如果你从整体来看,从Quick Style的愿景来考虑,中国或亚洲扮演什么角色?

Bilal Malik: 在Quick Style的未来规划中,中国和亚洲都是非常重要的。我们是在像挪威这样的西方国家长大的亚裔。我们是有着独特文化见解的挪威人,那是我们家庭所带来的深厚文化联系。我们很幸运,可以成长在一个开明的国家里。很多人或国家就没这么幸运了。我们相信,我们有足够丰富的经验、知识和敏感度,去在不同国家之间建立文化桥梁。每当我们与别人互动时,都会真的去深入地了解他们真正的感受和喜好,因为我们真的关心他们。


"We believe everyone can dance." - Bilal Malik

Facebook: @thequickstyle
YouTube: ~/TheQuickStyle
Instagram: @thequickstyle
Twitter: @thequickstyle


Contributor: Aleesha Suleman
Images & Videos Courtesy of Quick Style & Sinostage

脸书: @thequickstyle
YouTube: ~/TheQuickStyle
Instagram: @thequickstyle
推特: @thequickstyle


供稿人: Aleesha Suleman
图片与视频由Quick Style与Sinostage提供

A Beautiful Contradiction



Just 20 minutes outside of the dusty town of Siem Reap in Cambodia, and away from bustling groups of tourists visiting the Angkor Wat complex, a small farm has quietly revitalized ancient techniques of silk weaving that date back to as early as 4000 BCE. Surrounded by lush rice fields and vast orchards of mulberry leaves, the Artisans Angkor farm is an oasis in this otherwise hot and arid region. The farm was established in the late 1990s when it began recruiting rural women in the surrounding area who lacked formal education and provided training in all facets of the silk-production process, from breeding worms all the way to weaving intricately designed pieces of art. Beginning with just a handful of employees at its inception, today nearly 800 artisans can be found at the farm and its satellite workshops scattered across rural Cambodia.

从柬埔寨暹粒这个尘土飞扬的小镇驱车20分钟,你就能远离吴哥窟建筑群中熙熙攘攘的游客,来到一个安静的小农场,在这里,人们正默默地努力振兴可以追溯到公元前4000年前的古老丝绸编织技艺。在这片炎热干旱的地区,这个名为Artisans Angkor(吴哥工匠)的小农场四周却是郁郁葱葱的稻田和广阔的桑果园,可谓是一片绿洲。农场成立于1990年代末,农场一开始招收周边地区未接受过正规教育的农村妇女来工作,为她们提供从养殖蚕虫到编织复杂艺术品一切有关丝绸生产制作的培训。从刚开始仅有的数名员工,发展到如今拥有将近800名工匠,除了这个农场之外,还在柬埔寨的农村地区开设了众多的小作坊。

The farm is organized as the physical representation of the entire silk production process. As I walk onto the grounds, I first pass through endless lines of thick mulberry bushes that are grown year round as a food supply for the worms. This leads to a large warehouse filled with millions of silkworms that will feed on mulberry leaves until they are moved to wicker trays where they can begin spinning bright orange cocoons that will eventually encase their entire bodies. If you sit quietly and listen, you can even hear a chatter-like sound as the worms voraciously devour the leaves one bite at a time. The final section of the farm is three separate buildings where the cocoons are boiled, unwound, cleaned, dyed, and finally passed along to expert weavers who may spend several months carefully stitching the silk into intricately designed patterns using nothing more than a traditional wooden loom.


While the process of producing and weaving silk is nothing short of awe-inspiring, the sheer volume of raw materials required to make just a single piece of fabric is almost unfathomable. Each cocoon weighs a mere 70 grams and contains approximately 400 combined meters of raw and fine silk. One medium-sized scarf requires no less than 3,000 individual cocoons, while larger items require as many as 6,000 cocoons. The silk farm keeps 20% of the cocoons that will later transform into moths and ensure a steady reproduction rate of new silk worms, with female moths giving birth to upwards of 300 eggs each.


Savuth, one of the farm’s employees, explains to me that while Cambodia may not be a silk powerhouse like India or China, silk weaving is a tradition that runs deep in numerous rural Cambodian households. “My grandma, grandad, and mom also did silk weaving. Just the three of them, they planted the bushes, dyed the colors, and wove scarves. One scarf with just three people would take almost five months,” he says. As a child, Savuth was responsible for caring for the mulberry bushes and making sure the silkworms were well fed, which led to an affinity for worms one usually would associate with a pet dog or cat. “I still play with the worms every day. I like them very much,” Savuth tells me with a grin on his face.


The influx of foreign investment into Cambodia is resulting in a rapid transformation of societal values, where speed and efficiency are swiftly taking the place of craft and tradition. And while Cambodia’s large textile factories are bringing newfound economic gains, the small silk workshops in the country’s sprawling rural areas continue to preserve one of Cambodia’s oldest and most celebrated crafts.


Website: www.artisansdangkor.com
Facebook: ~/ArtisansAngkor
Instagram: @artisansangkor


Contributor, Photographer, and Videographer: Jeremy Meek

网站: www.artisansangkor.com
脸书: ~/ArtisansAngkor
Instagram: @artisansangkor


供稿人,图片摄影师与视频摄影师: Jeremy Meek

In the Studio with Orkhontuul

Orkhontuul Banzragch is a visual artist whose surrealist paintings have attracted increasing attention in the Mongolian art scene. Since the induction of his Face of painting into Mongolia’s State Treasury in 2014, Orkhontuul’s work has been heralded as the new wave of Mongolian art. His style is distinct and doesn’t fit the mold of traditional Mongolian art, which might include predictable imagery of horses, wolves, nomadic warriors, and the great wilderness. Instead, Orkhontuul prefers portraits, which, more often than not, are based on himself or people in his life. He wields his art as a vessel in which he can share his commentary on the struggles of modern-day Mongolians – touching on modern issues such as the national identity crisis, the population’s collective nostalgia for a supposedly glorious past, among other sociopolitical topics. As such, despite his nonconformist style, Orkhontuul is widely regarded as an artist who creates authentic Mongolian art.

Orkhontuul Banzragch是近年来蒙古艺术界中崭露头角的视觉艺术家。2014年,他的《Face of》一画被选入蒙古国库(Mongolia’s State Treasury),其作品也被标榜为蒙古族的艺术新浪潮。他的作品的特别之处,在于它偏离了蒙古族的传统艺术模式,譬如大多数蒙古艺术作品都会出现马、狼、游牧战士和大荒原等形象。相反,他的作品多为超现实主义的肖像画,这些肖像画往往是以他自己或他身边的人为原型创作的。通过自己的艺术,他展现出自己对现代蒙古人所经历的挣扎的看法,譬如是民族认同问题危机,或是蒙古人民对这个民族过去辉煌历史的集体缅怀。因此,尽管他的风格不拘于传统,他仍被蒙古人们视为是创作正宗蒙古艺术的艺术家。

A recent visit to his studio took us to the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar city and into the basement of a newly built apartment complex. The space, sparsely decorated and dimly lit, is split into two rooms. The second room belongs to Lkhagvadorj, a local artist who’s sharing the space. Orkhontuul tells us that the primary reason for choosing this location was because of affordability – the two artists have a rather unorthodox arrangement with the landlord where they’re allowed to pay rent with their paintings. The secondary reason is because of its remoteness; it’s even an hour-long commute for Orkhontuul himself to get there, but this was a deliberate decision, as he wants to discourage frequent visitors and focus on his work without distractions. Undeterred by Orkhontuul wishes of being left alone to his art, we sat down with him and had a long chat about the challenges of being an artist in Mongolia and breaking free from “generic Mongolian art.”


Neocha: Did you choose art or did art choose you?

Orkhontuul: It’s not that I wanted or chose to be an artist like you would choose a profession. I think some people can choose their profession, but for example, artists like painters, musicians, singers and composers are not privy to that because they can’t choose their talent. I believe talent is something predestined. Unlike other artists, I would say I’m lucky, in that none of my family members have expressed disapproval in me drawing or painting. My father is a composer, so I think him being an artist probably helped me continue down this path. Either way, my family probably had no way to stop a kid who started painting before he could even crawl.

Neocha: 你觉得是你选择了艺术这条路,还是艺术它选择了你?

Orkhontuul: 关于这一点,我觉得不是像平时人们选择职业那样的,不是说是我想要成为或者说选择了成为一名艺术家。有些人是可以选择自己的职业,但是像画家、音乐家、歌手和作曲家这些艺术家是不同的,才华不是一件可以选择的事情。我相信才华是命中注定的。我会说自己很幸运,因为不像其他艺术家,我的家人都没有反对我画画。我的父亲是一名作曲家,我觉得有一位艺术家父亲让我更加坚定地走艺术创作这条道路。但不管怎样,我的家人可能也没有办法阻止我,毕竟在我还没学会爬的时候,我就先会画画了。

Face of... (2014)
Road (2009)
It Flies (2017)

Neocha: Your paintings capture the hardships and struggles of modern Mongolians. Why are these issues so important to you?

Orkhontuul: I think everyone in Mongolia has their own feelings on the current state of things. But as an artist I just see and feel it as images so I express it in that way. There are people, like journalists, who can explain whats happening today with their writing, but someone like me just can’t explain it with words. My art is just what I have seen and experienced in our society, which at times, might be what I feel to be injustices. These things just come out as a painting for me. I’m not trying to advocate for any cause or use my art as like a banner or an ad for something. I am just painting what I see, but I don’t strictly paint images focused on social commentary.

Neocha: 很多人说你的画作展示出了现代蒙古人的艰辛和挣扎。为什么这些主题对你来说如此重要?

Orkhontuul: 我想每个人对当下的事物都会有自己的感受。但是,作为一名艺术家,我的所见所感对我来说都是一个个画面,所以我还是以画画的方式表达出来。有些人,譬如记者,他们可以用文字来解释当下发生的事情,而我可能无法用语言来做到这一点。我的艺术正是我在社会上的见闻和经历,无论它是否不公正。只是我会通过画画来表达出这些东西。我并没有想通过自己的艺术作品来倡议任何事情或是用它作为一面旗帜或广告去宣传任何东西。我只是在画我所见到的事物。我并非只专注创作有关社会问题的画像。

What was I Saying (2014)

Neocha: Are you actively searching for inspiration or do you just have spontaneous “lightbulb” moments?

Orkhontuul: It varies. Sometimes inspiration just comes to me when I’m walking down the street. It comes from things I hear or see. I think artists should be very acute and peckish. Since my student days, I’ve constantly searched for things that can inspire me, and because of that tendency, I’ve learned a lot and am even more eager to search out the next thing that can inspire me. If something sparks my interest then I’ll try to make something out if it.

Neocha: 你画画的灵感从何而来?你平时会不断去搜寻灵感,还是就灵光一闪,下笔如神?

Orkhontuul: 不一定。有时,我在街上走着走着,灵感就出现了。可能是来自我听到或看到的事物。我觉得艺术家应该保持敏锐,并始终充满渴求。从学生时期开始,我就会不断去寻找能激发灵感的事物。这样也更能提升我的敏锐度和求知欲。如果有什么东西引起了我的兴趣,我就会努力尝试从中创作些什么。

Neocha: Most Mongolian art is littered with generic subjects like horses, wolves, beautiful woman, and so on. What are your thoughts on the prevalence of these subject matters in Mongolian art?

Orkhontuul: I think some of these paintings have a different purpose from art. Some artists draw these things not because they want to, but they have to make a living. These types of paintings should not be considered art in my opinion. I, for one, would never paint a wolf just for the purpose of making money. I might use an image of a wolf if I’m trying to express something specific in my paintings, but I’ll never think that I should incorporate a certain element because it’s the norm.

Neocha: 大部分蒙古族艺术作品中都充满了像马、狼、美丽女性等形象。对于蒙古艺术中这些题材的流行泛滥你有什么看法?

Orkhontuul: 我觉得这些画不是以艺术为目的创作的。有些画家画这些画并非出于自己的意愿,而是为了谋生而画。在我看来,这样的画不应该被视为艺术。拿我来说,我永远也不会为了赚钱而去画一匹狼。只有当我觉得狼可以用来表达某种具体意义时,我才会去画,但我从来不会因为某种元素或形象很流行,就把它加入到自己的作品中。

Mother (2012)

Neocha: Can you tell us about this piece named “Mother”? It’s quite different from some of your other work, and there’s quite a lot to digest in the frame.

Orkhontuul: This painting is actually based on a real person that I met. I don’t have many interests or hobbies in life except for painting and traveling. I love to travel. There were times just on a whim I would just hitch a ride to the countryside. One time, when I was on a train, an old lady barged into my cabin holding a bottle of vodka, and with a growly voice, she said “Let’s share a drink.” She was one of those ladies that goes to China to buy cheap goods and sell it here at the local market. And maybe because of her profession and stress, she looked more like a man than a woman. All the joy she had seemed to have faded away. She told me she does to support her family. And that is why in the painting she has four breasts – every breast represents one of her children. Her missing face represents the losing her feminine identity, and the pigeons are her stressful thoughts of feeding her hungry children. The missing puzzle pieces are things that left her life – husband and love. She has a penis because she had to essentially “become a man” to live, but the silhouette of the many arms that surround her is meant to represent that she is still a goddess. That’s what I wanted to portray but other people might look at it and see something different.

Neocha: 你能跟我们介绍一下这幅名为《母亲》(Mother)的作品吗?它和你的其它作品有很大的不同,整个画面有相当多值得注意的元素。

Orkhontuul: 这幅画其实是以我认识的一个人为原型创作的。除了画画和旅游,我在生活中没有太多的兴趣爱好。我喜欢旅行。有几次,只是一时兴起,我就去了搭顺风车到农村。有一次,我坐在火车上,一位老太太闯进我的车厢,拿着一瓶伏特加酒,对我吼着说:“让我们一起来喝一杯吧。”她和很多妇女一样,都是去中国买些便宜货,然后拿回当地市场转卖。也许是因为她的职业和压力,她看起来更像一个男人。她曾经的快乐似乎已经消磨殆尽。她告诉我,她要支撑起整个家。这就是为什么在画里,她有四个乳房,因为每一个乳房都代表了她的一个孩子。她所缺少的面部,代表了她所失去的女性身份,而鸽子则是她忙于喂养饥饿的孩子们所承受的压力。缺少的拼图是指她的生活中所缺少的丈夫和爱。她之所以有男性的生殖器,是因为她被迫“作为男性”来生活,但“千手观音”的轮廓又表示她仍然是一名女神。这就是我想表达的意义。当然,其他人看到这幅画时可能会有不同的看法。

Life. (2011)
Tongue Without a Body (2012)

Neocha: It sounds there’s a lot of contemplation involved in how you want to present your messages. How long does it usually take you to complete a painting from start to finish?

Orkhontuul: I can’t truly say. I usually start on a painting, and I’ll stop and comeback to it later. I usually don’t think about it when I start on a certain painting. Sometimes, a piece might take me more than a year to finish, but the actual time I spend putting my brush to canvas probably isn’t longer than a month. I am one of those people who will get frustrated or hate what I am painting if I force myself to finish a painting when the inspiration isn’t there. For some artists, there are paintings that might’ve taken them more than ten years to finish. If the painter paints without stopping, he or she would have produced hundreds of paintings like that. It takes them that long because something will go wrong – they might have gone into a rut, they might have to do research, maybe they’re just not feeling it, or maybe the painting turns into something they did not want or expect. Sometimes, they might just want to scrap it altogether.

Neocha: 听起来,对于画面所传递的内容,你需要经过很多思考。那么通常来说,你需要花多长时间完成一幅画?

Orkhontuul: 不好说。我常常开始画一幅画,画到中间就停下来,过后又回头继续画。每次开始创作一幅画时,我都不会去想要花多长时间。有时候,一幅画我可能要画一年多才能完成,但实际上真正下笔画的时间可能不超过一个月。我是那种如果没有灵感还要强迫自己作画时,就会对在画的东西感到很失望、甚至产生厌恶的人。有一些艺术家可能会用十几年的时间才能完成一幅画作。但其实,如果画家不间断地画,这么长的时间足以创作出数百幅画作。之所以需要这么长的时间,是因为创作的过程不是一帆风顺的,画家可能突然感到枯燥乏味,或是需要去进行更多研究,也可能觉得不想画了,或者是画着画着,发现画跟他们预期和期待的不一样。或者有时,他们可能只是想要毁掉了重新再画。

Neocha: You seem quite empathetic towards the hardships of other people, but what are some of the challenges that you yourself face as an artist in Mongolia?

Orkhontuul: You do have to pick up odd jobs and work on commissions to earn money and make a living. It’s impossible to just work on your own art and make a living off of that. But, the way I see it is that whenever I’m working these odd jobs, I’m buying time for myself to pursue what I want to paint.

Neocha: 你在作品中充满了对他人艰辛生活的同情,那你自己作为一名蒙古艺术家,又面临怎样的挑战?

Orkhontuul: 你必须做零工,接受客人委托的画画工作来挣钱谋生。想单纯靠自己的画来谋生几乎是不可能的。但我的想法是,我做这些零活,就是为了让自己有更多的时间去追求我真正想要的创作理想。

Facebook: ~/B.Orkhontuul


Contributor: Anand Tumurtogoo

脸书: ~/B.Orkhontuul


供稿人: Anand Tumurtogoo

Manhole Covers in China

Have you ever paid attention to what the manhole covers in your city look like? Maybe you’ve noticed that they don’t all look the same – they might be different for natural gas, for running water, for sewage, or for electrical cable systems. Manhole covers actually play many different roles, and their artistic designs are often ignored.

Captivated by manholes covers, street photographer Horsefly1988 created a photo project centered around his observations (filing the project under a Chinese hashtag that translates to #snappingrandommanholecovers). Since 2015, he’s toured almost thirty cities across China, amassing a collection of around 300 photographs of unique manhole covers. As to why he chose this particular hobby, he tells us with candor: “Manhole covers are a part of the city, and those that are well designed bring beauty to their surroundings.” In the interview below, he shares more about why he’s so fascinated by these overlooked manhole lids.


热衷拍井盖的业余街拍摄影师 黑乌鸦的嘴 ,开了个私人摄影项目 #携机乱拍窨井盖# ,自2015年至今,他跑过了全国各地将近30个城市,现在已经集齐将近300只形色各异的窨井盖。对于为什么想拍窨井盖这个问题,他坦然地告诉我们:因为窨井盖也是城市的一部分,美丽的井盖能给城市增色不少。但对于常常被人忽视的窨井盖,他还有更多想要和我们分享的故事——

Neocha: Out of all the manhole covers you’ve photographed, which one stands out the most?

Horsefly1988: There’s the one with double dragons from a water utility company in Wuhan. It was actually huge, with a diameter of about 70 centimeters! And this was a manhole cover that I came across early on in my project. I considered it a real milestone. For most people, they probably think of manhole covers as boring, and it was even hard for me to find interesting ones when I first got into photographing them. But after finding that particular one, I began finding more and more good ones, it was like a valve suddenly being opened.

Neocha: 拍了这么多窨井盖,让你印象最深刻的是哪个?

黑乌鸦的嘴: 武汉自来水公司的,双龙的那个。它其实很大,直径大约70厘米!而且这是我开始拍井盖没多久遇到的一个有趣的井盖,可以算是一个里程碑吧。你知道井盖在普通人看来比较无趣,我开始拍的时候也没遇到多少好看的。但自从发现了这个,后面发现的就很多了,感觉像打开了阀门。

Neocha: What kind of manhole covers are you personally drawn to?

Horsefly1988: My favorites are the ones that incorporate Chinese cultural elements, such as Chinese dragons and more ornate patterns. Next are the ones with interesting landmarks, and then it’s the ones with beautiful textures. It’s pretty difficult to find one that have all three of these traits, but I’m still hopeful that I’ll find more. There’s the one with the Shenyang Imperial Palace on it that combines all of these characteristics, I guess it counts.

Neocha: 你个人比较喜欢怎样的窨井盖?


Neocha: Have you ever looked into who designed or manufactured these manhole covers?

Horsefly1988: I’ve thought about it before, but most of the time I wasn’t able to figure out exactly how to go about it. All of these manhole covers have designers, perhaps on the manufacturer side, or an engineer from the city government. Last year at Shanxi’s Datong Huayan Temple, I took a photograph of a manhole cover and looked into it a bit. It had what appeared to be English script written on it, and no matter how I tried, I couldn’t decipher what it said. After awhile I tried a different approach and used a translation app to look up the word “REGISTRO” and realized it wasn’t English but Spanish. One of my readers, Fein, helped to decipher the text as “Ayuntamiento de Madrid alcantarillado,” indicating that it was made for the Madrid sewage system. I made an educated guess that this cover was from an order of manhole covers that Madrid made to have manufactured in China, and for some reason they were made defective, so the Madrid contractees decided to just leave them to Datong city. After following these clues, I found the original manufacturer in Shanxi and sent an email to them inquiring about the matter, but I haven’t received a response yet.

Neocha: 有没有尝试调查过这些井盖是由谁设计和制作的?

黑乌鸦的嘴: 这个曾经想调查,但不知道如何下手。应该都有人设计,也可能是井盖制造厂设计的,也可能是市政工程师设计的。
我去年在山西大同华严寺旁边拍到过一个窨井盖,算是调查过一下。那个窨井盖上面有一串英文字样,我怎么断句都没有成功。后来我突然开窍,拿翻译软件输入了“REGISTRO”,发现是西班牙语,一位读者Fein帮忙确定断句应该是“Ayuntamiento de Madrid alcantarillado”,西班牙排水的意思。我果断地猜测这是马德里市政在中国订购的井盖,因为做错了,厂家把这些残次品处理给了大同。然后我根据线索一直找,应该算找到了当时做这个井盖的山西供应商吧,发邮件去咨询了,但是至今还没有回复。

Neocha: In all of the cities you’ve visited, which one has the best manhole covers?

Horsefly1988: I feel like the developed coastal port cities always hold surprises. Presently, Wuhan, Beijing, and Dunhuang are the cities where I’ve discovered the most interesting manhole covers.

Neocha: 在你现在拍过的窨井盖中,哪个城市好看的窨井盖最多?

黑乌鸦的嘴: 我觉得以前开放口岸的城市井盖都会给人惊喜。目前在武汉、北京拍到的好看的最多,然后敦煌也发现不少。

Neocha: What kind of role do you think manhole covers play in the greater context of the city?

Horsefly1988: I think that they’re like the finishing touches of a city. If a city has developed to the point that it can consider something like the designs of manhole covers, then it says something about how well-managed that city is. If a city hasn’t developed too well, but their manhole covers are well designed, then it says something about the cultural inclinations of the city government.

Neocha: 你觉得窨井盖在城市文明中扮演怎样的角色?

黑乌鸦的嘴: 井盖应该是扮演着一个点睛的角色,如果一个城市的文明都已经考虑到用井盖来体现了,说明这个城市的管理基本面已经比较到位了;如果一个城市管理还未到位,然而他们的井盖却很有趣,说明这个城市的管理者有一定的人文情怀。

Horsefly1988’s ongoing #snappingrandommanholes project continues to bring attention to these neglected, metallic works of art, hopefully inspiring more people to be mindful of the beautiful details that can be found in their own cities, which might just very well be right beneath their feet.

黑乌鸦的嘴的私人摄影项目 #携机乱拍窨井盖# 依然还在进行中,这些我们脚下被忽视的铁皮画布所呈现的美,也让越来越多行色匆匆的人停下了脚步,去留意和记录以往不曾发现的城市细节。



Contributor: Chen Yuan



供稿人: Chen Yuan

Sculpting the Divine in Kumortuli

The artist paints over a finished sculpture of Goddess Durga.

Kumortuli is a traditional potter’s quarter in Kolkata, India where artisans have been living and honing their craft for centuries. But what type of work do these artists create? The answer can be found in the festivals that are often associated with India. When most people think of festivals in India, the popular Diwali and Holi will most likely be the first to come to mind. However, that’s barely scratching the surface of India’s love of celebration. Every state has a particular festival that it celebrates with more pomp and splendor than the rest of the country. For Kolkata, it’s Durga Puja.

Kumortuli是印度加尔各答的一个传统陶器产区,几百年来,陶艺工匠生活在这里生活、磨练制陶手艺。而当地陶艺工匠所创作的作品到底如何?答案可以在印度的一些传统节日中找到。说到印度的节日,大多数人首先想到的应该是像排灯节(Diwali)和侯丽节(Holi)这些著名的节日。然而,这些节日其实只能算是印度众多节日中的凤毛麟角,它们不能完全体现出印度人们对节日的热爱。事实上,在印度,每个州都有它的特色节日,在庆祝这个节日时,会比全国其它地方庆祝的方式更隆重、更热闹。而加尔各答的特色节日正是杜尔加女神节(Durga Puja)。

An artist works on an unfinished Durga face.
Seen here is the goddess’ vahan on the left, i.e., the tiger. On the right is the demon king, Mahishasur.

Durga Puja is an annual festival that happens in late September or early October. It reveres the Hindu deity Durga, a fierce goddess of war. One of the most popular legends associated with the goddess is of her battle against demon king Mahishasur. As such, a common depiction of the goddess shows her thrusting her Trishul (a trident that many deities of Hinduism wield) into the demon. In Hindu mythology, every god and goddess ride a vahana for travel. In turn, another common depiction of Durga is atop her vahana, a tiger. Various depictions of this goddess can be seen during Kolkata’s Durga Puja, all of which are created by the artists of Kumortuli.

一年一度的杜尔加女神节于9月底或10月初期间举行。节日是为了庆祝印度教中强大的女战神——杜尔加女神。关于杜尔加女神,最著名的一个传说是她打败妖王(Mahishasur)的那场战斗。因此,她最常见的形象是将自己的三叉戟(Trishul,许多印度教神像使用的三叉戟)插入恶魔身体。在印度神话中,所有的神灵和女神都会乘着一只座骑( vahana )出行。所以,杜尔加女神的另一种常见的形象是她骑着自己的老虎座骑。在加尔各答的杜尔加女神节期间,人们可以看到关于这位女神的各种形象,而打造这些神象的正是Kumortuli的艺术家们。

Some of the smallest Durga sculptures, seen here in a workshop.
An unfinished Durga idol stored in a workshop.
One of the larger sculptures of the goddess.

The Kumortuli quarters have hundreds of artisans working day and night throughout the year to create idols. A typical workshop is nothing more than a small patch of land with minimum necessities and only enough space to house materials and the completed works. Despite the difficult working conditions, the increasing prosperity of the region means that people are spending more and more on recreational activities, which includes the celebration of Durga Puja. As a result, the sculptors of Kumortuli have been given much more creative freedom in their sculptures in recent times.


The bamboo base, on the left, of a typical sculpture made in Kumartuli.

The sculpture creation process in Kumortuli is completely eco-friendly, but the process is tedious. The base of sculptures are made of bamboo sticks, which are ferried in by boat from nearby regions. The bamboo then needs to be dried on river banks. Afterwards, artists will begin creating the foundation. Once the base is done, a coat of clay is applied to shape the idol and recycled paper is used to fill the cracks. Once the clay structure is complete to reveal the perfect likeness of the idol, an artist paints over it with vibrant colors. In the final step, the sculpture is adorned with clothing, accessories, and jewelry. After the celebration ends, devotees submerge their idols into water, which results in the clay being washed away. Artists will then recover the bamboo base to reuse the following year.


Maa Kaali, the black-faced Hindu goddess.
Unfinished sculptures of Lord Ganesha, kept in a workshop.

While the main idols created at Kumortuli are of Durga, sculptors also create idols of other Hindu gods and goddesses for worship at different festivals across the country. These idols include Lord Ganesha, Goddess Saraswati, Goddess Lakshmi, and more. Visitors can even come across sculptures of Jesus Christ in Kumortuli since Christmas is commonly celebrated in Kolkata and other parts of India. Strolling around and taking a look at the workshops of different artisans is surprisingly evealing of the diverse religious fabric of India. Aside from religious figures, sculptors also create statues of important cultural figures like Swami Vivekananda and Rabindranath Tagore, two respected philosophers and intellectuals who are widely honored on their birthdays.

虽然在Kumortuli区,最常见的神像是杜尔加女神,但艺术家们还会创作其他印度教的神灵和女神,用于在全国各地不同的节日供人们崇拜。这些神像包括象头神(Lord Ganesha)、辩才天女(Goddess Saraswati)、吉祥天女(Goddess Lakshmi)等等。游客甚至可以在Kumortuli区看到耶稣基督的雕塑,因为在加尔各答和印度其它地区,人们也会庆祝圣诞节。在不同艺术家的作坊里闲逛,往往能意外地发现印度不同宗教的文化。除了宗教人物,这里的艺术家也会打造文化名人的雕像,譬如印度两位受人尊敬的哲学家斯瓦米·维韦卡南达(Swami Vivekananda)和罗宾德拉纳特·泰戈尔(Rabindranath Tagore),因为人们在他们生日那天举办庆祝活动来纪念他们。

Idol of Lord Jesus in the middle. On the left is a statue of Swami Vivekananda (with the turban
Two statues of Rabindranath Tagore, seen in a narrow Kumartuli lane.

The sculptures created in Kumortuli are not only sold locally or domestically. There’s often demand for them on an international level. Indians living abroad will even commission work from artists in Kumartuli. Due to this demand, many artists in Kumortuli will end up working tirelessly throughout the year to keep up with the sheer amount of festivals and celebrations. While hordes of photographers frequent this unique place all the time, the sculptors are quite immune to the attention and lead humble lives. Families of artists have passed down their craft from generation to generation – their dedication and hard work contribute to the preservation of tradition and culture in not only Kolkata but India as a whole.


Contributor & Photographer: Garima Garg

供稿人与摄影师: Garima Garg

Vans Custom Culture Asia

Vans has brought the Custom Culture Competition to Asia for the first time ever this year. With a well-established reputation for individualism and self-expression, the Vans brand spirit is perfectly embodied through this competition. Working with the goal of rallying Asia’s creative community and providing a new platform to help showcase the region’s burgeoning creators, the contest invites everyone to flaunt their creativity for a chance to see their design make its way onto a pair of these iconic canvas shoes.

今年,Vans 首次将 Custom Culture 鞋履设计比赛带到亚洲。这一比赛充分体现了Vans 一向推崇个性化和自我表现的品牌精神,致力凝聚亚洲创意社区,为新兴艺术家提供一个新的创意平台。比赛邀请一众亚洲艺术家,尽情发挥他们的设计创意, 获奖者的设计将会被用于设计该品牌的全新帆布鞋产品。

For the competition, Vans has invited various respected artists from around Asia as both mentors and judges. Mentors will help the selected finalists to flesh out and complete their final design. These mentors include Chinese visual artist Lin Wenxin, South Korean illustrator Original Punk, Hong Kong-based woodworking atelier Start from Zero, Singapore-based husband-and-wife creative duo Sabotage, self-taught Malaysian street artist Fritilldea, and India-based street artist duo Varsha Nair. Judges include renowned San Francisco-based illustrator Jay Howell, Nini Sum of the Shanghai-based artist duo IdleBeats, plus many more.

在今年比赛中, Vans邀请了亚洲各地备受推崇的艺术家作为导师和评委。导师将帮助决赛选手改善其设计作品。这些导师包括来自重庆的视觉艺术家林文心, 韩国插画家Original Punk, 香港木艺画室Start from Zero, 新加坡夫妻组合艺术家Sabotage, 自学成才的马来西亚街头艺术家Fritilldea和印度街头艺术家组合Varsha Nair。评委则包括来自旧金山的著名插画家Jay Howell,来自上海 IdleBeatsNini Sum等等。

Now, the six talented finalists from China, Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and India have all finished their designs alongside their respective mentors. The final round will decide who will win a trip to House of Vans London and have their creation debuted in stores Asia-wide next year! See the final entries below and vote for your favorites by clicking here.

现在,六位来自中国、韩国、香港、马来西亚、新加坡和印度才华横溢的设计师分别在各自导师的帮助下完成了最后的鞋履设计。最后一轮比赛的结果将会决定谁最终能赢得前往参加House of Vans伦敦站的机会,获胜的设计还将在明年亮相亚洲地区的Vans门店公开发售!下面是所有最终入围的决赛作品,来看看哪一款是你的最爱,点击此处,为它投上一票。

Felix / China

“The initial idea of this design is to make it appealing to a large audience while also bringing the Vans spirit alive. The reason I used this color combination is because I wanted to design a pair of summer shoes. It’s mainly green, dotted by red, with a little watermelon feeling.”

Felix / 中国


Kim Young Hyun / Korea 

“My design is inspired by comics. It’s a bit different from what people see in popular comics. This idea I came up with can be easily executed on a pair of Authentic shoes. I wanted to make a scary character in a witty situation, in order to maximize the humorous atmosphere.”

Kim Young Hyun / 韩国


Taka / Hong Kong 

“First things first, it’s got to be something I would wear. I like to wear simple colored shoes for ease of outfit matching. I wanted to create something for everyday use, yet as an artist, it has to be a recognizable shoe that was designed by me.”

Taka / 香港 


Khiddir Baharudin / Malaysia

“My design was inspired by how Vans has influenced the people in different parts of Asia. The design portrays different cultures in Asia, with people from Malaysia, Singapore, China, India, and Korea,  focusing on traditional outfits, transportation, and architectures from the ’60s and ’70s.”

 Khiddir Baharudin / 马来西亚


Edmund Seah / Singapore

“As an artist, I paint on various platforms, bringing the style and flow of the Japanese craft onto different media apart from the skin. I do not merely want to create a pretty image without flow and form.”

Edmund Seah / 新加坡


Anaghaa Chakrapani / India

“My inspiration for the shoe comes from the local essence of places I’ve traveled. I’ve traveled to many major cities in Asia. The elements in my shoe are inspired by the things I’ve observed and loved in the Asian region and my motherland India.”

Anaghaa Chakrapani / 印度


Website: houseofvansasia.com


Contributor: David Yen
Images Courtesy of Vans

网站: houseofvansasia.com


供稿人: David Yen

People of the Music



The shrine has a mosque-like roof, white as a meringue. People, some in robes, walk among evergreen trees laden with jackfruit. It’s the rainy season in Bangladesh and everything is hot and wet. Muhammed Ali fixes us with a calm gaze beneath authoritarian eyebrows. Behind him, a woman sweeps around the grave of saint Lalon Shah and that of his mother. The two six-foot-long prisms are covered with patterned material and spicy smoke threads through latticed burners. More of Lalon’s disciples are buried outside the small mausoleum. Ali points out one of the graves. “My father lies there. I inherited the role of caretaker from him,” he says. He takes us to the main hall. We slip off our shoes and step onto cool, white stone. Inside, devotees recline in the midday heat. Women and children sit around bags of spicy peas and rotis, their saris the color of oak and red squirrels and emerald. Lalon Shah lived and taught here, in Kushtia, Bangladesh, throughout the 19th century. He died in 1890 aged over 100 years old.

这座陵墓的白色屋顶充满清真寺风格,看上去像是一块巨型蛋糖霜。常绿乔木菠萝蜜树林中,人来人往,其中还穿插着穿着长袍的僧人。正值孟加拉雨季,一切炎热又潮湿。Muhammed Ali凝视着我们,目光平静而肃穆。在他身后,一个女人正在清扫圣人Lalon Shah和他母亲的陵墓。两个六英尺长的棱柱,被布满花纹图案的材料覆盖着,一缕缕刺激的烟雾从镂空的焚烧器里飘出来。Lalon的其他弟子被埋在了小陵墓的外面。Ali指着其中一处墓地,说:“我的父亲就埋在那儿。我继承了他管理者的职位。”我们跟着他来到主殿,脱掉鞋子,踏上冰冷的石头地板。在炎热的正午,信徒们正在殿内斜躺着。女人和儿童围着一袋袋辣豌豆和罗蒂斯坐着,头上戴着橡木色、红棕色和翡翠绿色的纱丽布。19世纪的时候,Lalon Shah就在孟加拉的库什蒂亚这里生活和教课。1890年逝世时,他的年龄已经超过100岁。

“Lalon was one of the most influential mystic saints of the Indian subcontinent. He inspired millions with his songs,” says Lalim Haque, a researcher and Lalon expert. “His lyrics are so profound. He has been able to touch the lives of not only people who have a taste for music but all people.” Haque said Lalon’s songs, especially when heard in their original Bangla, have the power to propel people to spiritual heights. Estimated to have composed thousands of songs, Lalon and his followers went on to influence 20th-century greats like Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagor, American poet Allan Ginsberg, and even Bob Dylan. To contemporary Bangladeshis, he’s like Shakespeare, Martin Luther King Jr., and Eckhart Tolle rolled into one.

Lalim Haque是一名研究学者和Lalon专家,他说:“Lalon 是印度最有影响力的神秘圣人之一。他用音乐激励着无数的人。他的歌词如此深刻,他所触动的不仅仅是爱好音乐的人,而是所有人的生活。”Haque觉得,Lalon的音乐,特别是当它们以原始孟加拉语唱出时,拥有提升人们精神境界的力量。据估计,Lalon和他的追随者谱写了上千首歌曲,许多20世纪的文学和音乐才子都受到过他们音乐的影响,譬如印度诗人泰戈尔(Rabindranath Tagor),战后“垮掉的一代”代表诗人艾伦·金斯堡(Allan Ginsberg)和民谣歌手鲍勃·迪伦(Bob Dylan)。对于现代孟加拉人来说,他就像是集莎士比亚(Shakespeare)、马丁·路德(Martin Luther King)和心灵作家艾克哈特·托勒(Eckhart Tolle)于一身的伟人。

Outside the shrine, there is a park overlooked by a ten-foot portrait of Lalon. The air wafts of weed and tobacco. Rumana, a former lawyer, has been a full-time Baul for 22 years. She plants a clay pipe between her fingers, cups her hands and inhales. She is charismatic, intelligent, and, unlike many of her companions, reveals clean white teeth whenever she smiles, which is often. She can speak English but refuses to be interviewed until we come back with a translator, saying that Bengla is the only language she can use to describe these sacred things.

在陵墓之外的一个公园里,放置着一个高达10英尺的Lalon雕像。雕像上布满了杂草和烟草。前律师 Rumana 已经是一名有 22 年经验的全职巴乌尔。她的手指间夹着一根陶土烟斗,她双手掬起,吸了一口烟。她是一位漂亮而聪明的女性,还很喜欢笑,和她的许多同伴不同,她在笑的时候,会露出一口洁白的牙齿。她会说英语,但拒绝用英语接受采访,直到我们带回了一位会说孟加拉语的翻译,她才肯接受采访。她说,神圣之物只能用孟加拉语来讲述。

After returning with a translator, she tells us that she smokes weed every day to help focus and access a meditative state. “We believe that Lalon’s songs are as important as the verses in the Quran. In Islamic law people are obliged to recite verses from the Quran every day; similarly, we Bauls sing Lalon’s songs every day,” Rumana says. She exhales a plume of smoke and passes the pipe to a friend with a matted beard and bloodshot eyes. She picks up her ektara and starts to pluck, making up for her rudimentary singing talents with her sincerity. Her bearded companion calls for tea, prompting a sari-swathed woman in a nearby stall to bawl at her daughter, who jumps up and soon arrives with tiny cups of tea that would be unpalatably strong were it not for the large scoops of sugar.

有了翻译之后,她告诉我们,她每天都会抽食大麻,这样可以帮助她集中精神,达到冥想的状态。“我们相信,Lalon的音乐和在《古兰经》的经文一样重要。伊斯兰教法要求人们每天诵读《古兰经》;同样的,我们巴乌尔人也会每天唱颂 Lalon的音乐。”Rumana 说。她呼出一口烟,将烟斗传给旁边的友人。她的朋友长着一脸乱蓬蓬的胡子,双眼布满了血丝。她拿起Ektara(孟加拉单弦琴),开始弹奏。虔诚的心弥补了她质朴的歌声。她留着胡须的友人向邻近一个摊档点了一杯茶,裹着纱丽的女摊主把蹦蹦跳跳的女儿叫来,让她把几杯茶端来。如果不是加了好几大勺的糖,这些茶会浓得难以下咽。

Muhammed Ali places his teacup down on the shrine floor and strokes his beard. Behind him, a Baul group start to sing “A Strange Bird,” one of Lalon’s favorite songs. Below is the song translated by Azfar Hussain.

“Look, how a strange bird flits in and out of the cage!

O mind, you are a bird encaged! And of green sticks
Is your cage made, but it will be broken one day.
Lalon says: Open the cage, look how the bird wings away!”

Even though I don’t understand Bengla, the song touches my heart with its longing; it makes me want to rush over to someone and fling open my arms. There is no applause when it’s over, instead, the Bauls bless a finished song by praising the lord, saying “shai shai, shai shai.”

Muhammed Ali将茶杯放在陵墓地板上,捋着他的胡子。在他身后,一群巴乌尔音乐人开始哼唱Lalon最喜欢的歌《一只怪鸟》(A Strange Bird),Azfar Hussain翻译了其中的歌词。



尽管我不懂孟加拉语,但这首歌所诠释的渴望之情触动了我的心;它使我想要跑向某人的怀中,张开我的双臂。歌声结束时,没有掌声。因为一般歌唱完毕后,巴乌尔音乐人喜欢说一个词来代替掌声,他们会说:“shai shai(我的主), shai shai(我的主)”。

Contributors: Nathan ThompsonJeremy Meek
Photographer & Videographer: Jeremy MeekNathan Thompson

供稿人: Nathan Thompson, Jeremy Meek
图片与视频摄影师: Jeremy MeekNathan Thompson