Dancing Dreams: the Winners of the Global SinoPhoto Awards 2021

An exhibition at the Museum of East Asian Art (MEAA) shows the winning entries from an international photographic competition celebrating Chinese culture. We have chosen some of our favourites to include here – and you can head to the museum in Bennet Street to see the full selection of winners.

An image entitled The Dancing Dreams of a Mountain Girl depicts a young mountain girl dancing for her grandmother while she works making toy tigers in a small rural village in China. This is the overall winner of an international photo competition celebrating Chinese culture. The judges felt the image by Chinese photographer Li Huaifeng captures “a moment of joy – almost other-worldly vision of the child in the sun’s rays. It is as if Grandma is watching the child in a hologram.”

They added, “The image is highly atmospheric and a well-caught moment, contributing to giving us, the viewers, a privileged place inside a home that’s doubtless very different from our normal experience.”

The winning images from the competition will be exhibited at the Museum of East Asian Art in Bath, the only museum in the UK solely dedicated to arts and culture from East and South East Asia, until 14 May. The Awards, in association with the Lau China Institute, King’s College London, invited photographers to tell Chinese stories, imagining, interpreting, and inspiring connections between Chinese culture and the rest of the world, and received almost 2,000 entries from professional and amateur photographers from any location, background and nationality. Now in their second year, the Awards launched four new categories including ‘Water’, as 2022 is the Year of the Water Tiger and water is integral to Chinese culture through the religions of Confucianism and Taoism.

The remaining categories were ‘Home’, ‘Work & Play’, and ‘Environment’. The other category winners were: Family Stuff – The Golden Anniversary Couple by Huang Qingjun, Seasonal Sea, an environmental image by Yang Tongyu and Seeking by Huang Jianjun.

Yintong Betser, founder of the Global SinoPhoto Awards, said, “We are delighted by the number and quality of the entries in this, only our second year. The entries represent a diverse snapshot of Chinese culture, enriched through the creative and innovative lenses of our talented entrants. In addition, we were delighted by the high level of entries to the ‘Water’ category from many non-China locations, as this element represents the ultimate life source according to Chinese philosophies and is a way for all cultures to share their inspiration and delight for this element.”

The images will be exhibited at other locations throughout the year including at the World Architecture Festival China in Chengdu in November, which is the China branch of the World Architecture Festival, the British company EMAP, as well as at the Lau China Institute, King’s College London.

The Winners of the Global SinoPhoto Awards 2021 exhibition is at the Museum of East Asian Art in Bennet Street, Bath until 14 May. You can also see a selection of the winning entries below.


Above: Micro World by Wen Dong, highly commended for ‘Water’ category. A drone picture of water farms where the patterns formed by the nets look like cells.

Above: Seasonal Sea by Yang Tongyu, category winner for ‘Environment’. Every summer, a green algae called Enteromorpha floats on the sea or rushes to the shore, often covering several square kilometres, creating a natural spectacle.

Above: Steaming Buns by Huang Jianjun, highly commended for ‘Work & Play’ category.

Above: Grandpa’s Old Birdcages by Wu Wei, highly commended for ‘Home’ category. “ Every morning, Grandpa would go bird-walking through the street garden. When I passed by on my way to school, I’d roll down the window and yell ‘hello’. He would be looking for the bus early on, and never missed me.”

Above: Dancing Dreams of a Mountain Girl by Li Huaifeng, overall winner of the Global SinoPhoto Awards 2021.

Above: Seeking by Huang Jianjun, category winner for ‘Water’. Taken in Yeqing, Wenzhou, China, 2016.