Exhibit of Li Ju Photographs Earns Awards

Exhibition on view at Stanford University April 11 2019 (courtesy Gary Mukai)

The Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project at Stanford congratulates Mr. Li Ju, whose exhibition of photographs — paired with historical images — has been celebrated with two California Preservation Foundation awards:

The 2019 Preservation Design Award in the Interpretive Exhibits category and a Trustees Award for Excellence.

The exhibit is distributed widely thanks to the tireless efforts of Monica and Adrian Arima.

The exhibit was first displayed in 2016 on Stanford campus, and was reinstalled for the project’s April 2019 public event and commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad line. Though the work of Monica and Adrian Arima, the project endeavors to respond to requests from pubic and private institutions, libraries, schools, and community centers throughout the United States, to borrow and display the exhibit.

Over the course of five years, Mr. Li Ju, a photographer based in China, travelled to the U.S. to retrace the route of the Transcontinental line, and to locate the origins of iconic historical photographs of the construction of the railroad line. He has rephotographed the same scenes to document the enduring legacy of the Chinese railroad workers who helped build the line.

From Li Ju’s essay available among out digital publications: we conducted a set of extensive field visits, tracing the original railroad route with the aid of modern technology in the first attempt to pinpoint precise geographic coordinates of the locations featured in historical photographs of the railroad. Drawing on our fieldwork, we compare historical archival photos with our contemporary photos taken at identical locations to document new findings about the location of railroad sites, the evolution of these railroad sites over time, and the daily lives of the railroad workers.

We congratulate Mr. Li Ju, and Monica and Adrian Arima, for their contribution to the history of the Chinese Railroad workers, and on the occasion of these two distinguished awards.