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The Motorcycle, Inner Mongolia, ChinaEnlarge image

The Motorcycle, Inner Mongolia, China, 2006

Benoit Aquin
Canadian, 1963
ink jet print
102.2 x 145 cm; image: 81.4 x 122.1 cm
Purchased 2010
National Gallery of Canada (no. 2011.3)

Award-winning photographer Benoit Aquin documents images of social, political and, in this case, environmental concern. These photographs record palpable evidence of "desertification" in China as over-cultivation of arable land has created massive sand dunes and detrimental sandstorms. Aquin presents the ecological cost of the country's "Dust Bowl" in Inner Mongolia and Hongsibao, a city created by the Chinese government to relocate environmental refugees from surrounding areas. The series, says Aquin, "shows just what happens when we mismanage the environment. These issues should not be in the context of only one country; they are global issues. They affect us all. And as a global population, we must solve them."

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