A Homecoming

Shen Wei’s ‘Chinese Sentiment’

Shot in big cities and small towns across China in recent years, Shen Wei’s photographic project “Chinese Sentiment” is a personal journey to recapture bygone Chinese life in both private and public space. Born and raised in Shanghai, Shen Wei worked as a waiter in a hotel and designed information brochures for the police and ads for Coca-Cola before moving to the U.S. in 2000 to study painting and later photography. In 2006, his portrait project “Almost Naked,” which explored identity and sexuality in America, established him as a rising artist in New York. With “Chinese Sentiment,” Shen and his work began to turn inward toward the vanishing world of his childhood in China and an exploration of his own fluid identity—a journey he takes further in his latest project, a self-portrait series called, “I Miss You Already.” For a fuller exploration of Shen Wei’s artistic odyssey and the era captured by “Chinese Sentiment,” read Peter Hessler’s accompanying essay.

Shen Wei’s work has been exhibited at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, and the Australian Centre for Photography, and it is included in the permanent collection of institutions including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the J. Paul Getty Museum.