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24 September 2014

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Zhao Bandi - Uh-oh! Pandaman - Manchester City Art Gallery
Until 5 September 2004
Zhao Bandi to Panda: "Woud you mind my smoking?"  Panda to Zhao Bandi: "Would you mind my extinction" It isn't easy to get across a political message in China at the best of times, but somehow Zhao Bandi has managed to parody Chinese state propaganda thanks mainly to a toy panda.
Zhao Bandi to Panda: "Would you mind my smoking?"
Panda to Zhao Bandi: "Would you mind my extinction"
"Am I dreaming?" - Zhao Bandi
"Am I dreaming?" - Zhao Bandi

Beijing-based artist Zhao Bandi creates photographs of himself and his toy panda and then adds captions or speech bubbles to give humours meaning to the images.

Zhao says, "I realised Panda's potential as a spokesperson, that through him I could talk about culture and society in a soft, humorous way."

But there's no doubting that these messages have a much deeper meaning. The panda itself is Zhao's symbol of China's one child policy.

Zhao Bandi tackles a number of issues including war, terrorism, the environment and disease.

Last year Bandi spent some time in the UK and the exhibition includes a selection of pictures taken around London.

As part of the exhibition six of his earlier works will be displayed around Manchester City centre from 29 June to 27 July and Zhao Bandi will be in Manchester on 29 July for a special performance piece based on the video of his Chinese court case against a newspaper that carried one of his images.

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