Michelle Sijia Ma
A Hundred Stories
In 2016, China declared its transition from a nation of unlimited labor supply to a country that bloomed with an aging population. Mostly consists of women in rural areas, they operate small enterprises supported by local governments. However, life among these populations is not only centered around the private enterprises, but supported by young generations that promise the aging ones their houses, health, and prosperity. A Hundred Stories seeks to tell the story of these people that are at once radical and conservative; grand, yet banal. Through inserting staged self-portraits with documentary images of the aging populations, A Hundred Stories investigate China’s past and its strange, yet paradoxical impacts on the young generations.
Sijia Ma (b. 2001 in Shenyang, China), is a visual artist based in Shanghai and MA. She is currently pursuing a B.A. in Studio Arts and Quantitative Economics at Smith College, MA. She also studied Graphic Design at Yale University and Photography at Amherst College in 2020. Sijia has worked to develop image-based projects and used the language of photography to explore the complexity of today’s Chinese identity in a subtler way.
Sijia has had solo and group exhibitions in the US and abroad, including the International Center of Photography in New York, Houston Center for Photography, Massachusett College of Art and Design, Kunstpunt Groningen in Netherland, New Era Research Institute of Photography in Beijing, Glasgow Gallery of Photography in Scotland, and Millepiani Gallery in Rome. Sijia’s images have been included in publications such as the American Photography Annual Award Book, China Souhu News, Vanderbilt University’s Nashville Review, Glass Mountain Magazine, F-Stop Magazine, and Lenscratch.
In 2020 Sijia co-founded China’s first junior art investment firm 1CM Inc. in Shanghai. She is currently working on the brand marketing team at Universal Studio Beijing.