David Zheng's statement
In 2020, the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted New York City’s Chinatown in a way like no other crisis has before. Due to fears of the virus and the rise of anti-Asian racism, the fragile community had seen a 50-70% loss in business, forcing a majority of stores to shut down for good, many of which had laid their foundation in the neighborhood over 5 decades ago. Chinatown, one of New York’s only true ethnic neighborhoods left, is under the threat of extinction.
In Where did all the Flowers go?, David Zheng turn his gaze towards a neighborhood at its brink. Overwhelmed by helplessness and anxiety, he took to the desolate streets of Chinatown, photographing the pandemic ravaged neighborhood through the 3-month lockdown period. A once vibrant and resilient immigrant community comes to an abrupt stop. Empty storefronts line the streets, a majority of which may not survive past the year. Graffiti and ripped posters adorned on decaying walls signal a cry for help. Zheng’s
And although the photographs depict a deteriorating neighborhood during a pandemic, questions of survival as an immigrant in America arise. What happens next, will we be taken care of? How far did we really come, or is this the end? Challenging the ethos of the “American dream”.