Looking Back, Looking Forward: Commemorating 40 Years of U.S.-China Relations

Alex Honnold climbs Getu Arch, 2016
Getu Valley National Park, Guizhou
© Jimmy Chin

Looking Back, Looking Forward: Commemorating 40 Years of U.S.-China Relations, curated by Meridian International Center in Washington, D.C., with support from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, charts the historic and contemporary relationship between the United States and China. Beginning in 1979, the U.S. and China have taken tremendous steps towards cross-cultural understanding. Since normalization, relations have grown especially in the cultural arena.The exhibition commemorates 40 years of U.S.-Chinese experiences and influences that established important cultural connections, as well as to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to a strong and continuing partnership.

Advised by Dan Murphy, Executive Director of the Fairbank Center for China Studies at Harvard, Looking Back, Looking Forward: Commemorating 40 Years of U.S.-China Relations uses 40 facsimiles of photographs and ephemera to relay how China and the United States have bonded through cross-cultural connections in popular culture, sports, fashion, cuisine, and film. This exhibition serves as an outreach tool to celebrate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic normalization between the Unites States and China.

The images, draw off the collections of the National Archives, Getty Images, the Library of Congress, university libraries, and private collections, among others.

The exhibition will open in Beijing before traveling to other regions throughout the duration of the year. It can also be seen in an online platform showcasing the exhibition as a celebration to the 40th anniversary.

Project summary

Looking Back, Looking Forward: Commemorating 40 Years of U.S.-China Relations | April 2020
Regions: Europe and Eurasia
Countries: China, United States
Impact Areas: Cultural Diplomacy
Program Areas: Culture
Partners: Public Sector