Watch: Shanghai construction workers speak about their hopes and dreams

Artist Nathalie Perakis-Valat unveils project featuring Lujiazui workers

Nathalie Perakis-Valat
Seemingly on every corner in Shanghai, construction workers are the critical force behind the city's development and yet so often overlooked. Now someone from the art world has decided to give one group of workers some much-deserved recognition. In a free exhibition that opened Saturday 7 at the Bund-side Art+ Shanghai Gallery, French artist Nathalie Perakis-Valat unveiled the product of two years of intense study and delving into the lives of construction workers on a Pudong site.

The work, consisting of 3D-printed miniature models of the workers, is part of an ambitious project aiming to raise awareness of the lives, dreams and talents of these anonymous individuals who build the city around us.

worker 2

Perakis-Valat interviewed 15 people on the Lujiazui construction site, asking them about their decisions to move to Shanghai and work in the field, before using body scanners to create 3D statues of each of them. 'My original idea was to create 3D statues of the workers to give them the honour they deserve', the artist explains. 'Thanks to their know-how, their personalities and their different backgrounds, each of them appeared to me to be a true keystone of Shanghai.'

worker 3

To create the statues, the workers were asked to stand very still on small rotating podiums. The works were then created in a 3D printing fablab, before Perakis-Valat returned to the construction site to photograph them alongside their own unique models. Check out the artist's video below featuring interviews with the workers and explaining the concept behind the project. Head to Art+ Shanghai Gallery to see this uplifting, captivating and skilful series for yourself.

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