Sacred Shanghai – Liz Hingley
Sacred Shanghai explores the spaces, rituals, and communities – in official, unofficial, public and private forms – that together weave the spiritual fabric of China’s largest and most cosmopolitan city. After decades of suppression during the Mao era, China has been undergoing one of the great religious revivals of our time. Unsettled by the pace of development and globalization, millions are turning to faith for meaning and hope in the alienating megacities that now dominate Chinese life.
Shanghai has around 26 million inhabitants and is the tenth wealthiest city in the world. Synonymous with consumerism, it is known for economic dynamism and architectural daring, and yet it is at the forefront of religious resurgence. The megalopolis is home to a multitude of religions from Buddhism and Islam, to Christianity and Baha’ism, to Hinduism and Daoism and many other alternative faiths, which are constantly growing and evolving.
Providing the first thorough investigation of religious practices in a Chinese city, this multidisciplinary project was undertaken in collaboration with Professor Benoit Vermander of the Xu-Ricci Dialogue Institute at Fudan University and Liang Zhang of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
‘Faith in China may be vulnerable, yet its unwavering importance is beyond doubt. Its very presence in people’s hearts makes it impossible to eradicate. More than economics or politics, it is these moments that are the new heart of China.’ – Ian Johnson, from the introduction to Sacred Shanghai (GOST 2019).
About the authors
Liz Hingley is a British photographer and anthropologist. Liz’s multidisciplinary work weaves between academic and artistic practice.
She primarily works on long-term projects that intimately explore contemporary rituals, systems of belief and belonging around the world.
Liz holds a BA Honors in Photography from the University of Brighton and an MSc in Social Anthropology from University College London (UCL). She completed a two-year scholarship at FABRICA, the Italian cultural institute, in 2009. There she made Under Gods: Stories from Soho Road, an internationally touring exhibition and book. Her next project, The Jones Family, received the Catchlight Award, Prix Virginia, Ian Parry Award and Getty Editorial Grant.
Between 2011-13 Liz was awarded a Leverhulme artist in residence at The Migration Research Unit (UCL) and then moved to China. As a Visiting Scholar of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, she produced three books over five years. Her work has been exhibited at Tate Modern, the University of Texas at Austin, The National Portrait Gallery and Somerset House. It has been featured in global media such as Time, Le Monde, the Guardian, Financial Times, The Economist and New Scientist.
As a proud trustee of AmberSide, she curates exhibitions at SIDE Gallery, Newcastle, UK. Liz is a Research Fellow at The University of Birmingham and the School of Oriental and Asian Studies (SOAS), where she is working as a curator on the project ROADS.