“Hope has two beautiful daughters – their names are anger and courage; 

anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.” 

                                                                                          -St. Augustine

China's rapid growth is both powerful and stunning, yet fast-paced change has also ushered in the destruction of history and communities. Buildings for miles of square blocks are marked with the eight red brush stroke character 拆 (pronounced Chai) meaning to destroy or take down. Two Beautiful Daughters is a meditation on the pain and anger that accompany powerlessness, and the courage and hope it takes to persevere through loss.  

Through 15 years of living in Asia, I have personally known those who have suffered from the poverty that comes with a nation pursuing wealth at lightning speed. My experience has enticed me to document the fallout of China's rapid economic development by photographing condemned neighborhoods and those still dwelling in them. These images reflect my personal journey of pain and anger as well as the pictures of hope and courage I have seen amidst every day life. 


Shelly Au, 2013