Sam Tata

Parade Participants on Stilts, August-September 1949

August-September 1949, printed 1970
When the People’s Liberation Army entered Shanghai in 1949 there was widespread panic. Sam Tata saw and recorded the kangaroo courts set up by fleeing nationalists who tried and summarily executed “undesireables.” He also photographed the hordes of troops and citizens perched on top of crowded railway cars who, he observed, would be swept off by the first bridge they came to. Many had nowhere to go. For Europeans and Americans, there was a press to leave the country by any means possible. One photograph shows a worried Caucasian girl, neatly dressed in a jacket, white tam, knee socks and penny loafers, clutching her doll, surrounded by a crush of people, luggage and deck chairs. Other photographs depict the entry of the troops into the city and the sea of banners, flags, posters and street entertainment that came with them. The takeover was celebratory and terrifying.
Artist
Title
Parade Participants on Stilts, August-September 1949
Date
August-September 1949, printed 1970
Medium
Photograph
Materials
gelatin silver print
Dimensions
50.7 x 40.7 cm; image: 34.5 x 22.7 cm
Nationality
Canadian
Credit line
Purchased 1978
Rights
© Sam Tata
Accession number
EX-78-646