The exhibit was curated by journalist Michiel Hulshof and architect Daan Roggeveen, both Dutch, who have extensively explored Chinese urbanism in their ongoing Go West Project. For Facing East, the pair travelled to six major African cities—Nairobi, Kigali, Lagos, Addis Ababa, Accra, Dar Es Salaam—over the past three years to photograph, interview and investigate. The exhibition's walls of photographs, along with captions and a short essay, provide a condensed portrait of their experiences. So, what's the verdict? Is Africa, in the words of one Kenyan small-business owner, truly "facing East to our new friends, the Chinese?"
Facing East does not explore any projects in detail but articulates the broad tensions that are shaping the design and construction of Africa's new infrastructure and cities. While development aid from the West aimed to reduce poverty and improve quality-of-life, China's efforts are purely for-profit ventures.