Chinese artist Han Bing, took to the streets of Greater Manchester this week in his latest work, ‘Mirror Project: Smoothing Towards Utopia’ as part of the two-week Asia Triennial Manchester Festival.

Han Bing led a public procession through the streets of Manchester celebrating the rich diversity in our city.

“We want to manifest a mode of belonging that refuses these slights and attacks and embraces principles of openness and inclusiveness” he said.

With over 150 languages spoken in Manchester and Salford alone, it is one of the most multilingual cities in the country. Bing continues:

“Here, as elsewhere all over the world, people who are marginalized, and in recent times, people who are not members of the dominant class, or majority race or religion, have experienced an uptick in prejudice, racism, xenophobic attacks and exclusionary politics”.

People from all walks of life were invited to walk with Han Bing with mirror masks covering their faces and flags from different countries draped across their bodies.

According to theorist and curator, Maya Kovskaya, PhD, “the point is too freely join into this celebrate of diversity and visibly show that we all belong and all types of people are welcome”.

One volunteer, Nikita Gill, explained how she thought Manchester needed to break the taboo around the subject of immigration. “I think it needs to be highlighted better and there should be better support for that difference” she stated. “We are all from somewhere else”.

The procession paraded through the streets starting from Manchester Cathedral and ending at HOME. The demonstration created a mixed reaction from the public with one onlooker stopping to say “this is surplus to requirements as far as I am concerned, I think there are a lot more things in Manchester that they could do with focusing on rather than celebrations of diversity”.

But that didn’t stop the parade continuing to march peacefully, chanting and singing in whatever language the wanted.

That was just one part of the celebrations, the Asia Triennial Manchester festival lasts until the 21st October and incorporates art, exhibitions and discussions.

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