Announcing the 2016 Abigail Cohen Fellows

Established in partnership with ChinaFile in 2013, the Abigail Cohen Fellowship in Documentary Photographysupports two photographers each year working on projects that address pressing social issues impacting China and its relations with the world. 

We are very excited about this year’s fellows, two photographers we are proud to honor for the creativity and conceptual rigor they are bringing to documentary photography: Yan Cong and Mari Bastashevski.

Yan Cong is a talented young photographer who we are eager to see more from; her proposal to look at the lead up to China’s 2022 Olympics and the ways that it reveals the realities and absurdities of local politics will be fascinating to follow as it progresses. We have been supporters and admirers of Mari Bastashevski’s work since awarding her a Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund grant in 2013. Her smartly conceived proposal to track the flow of goods out of China through shipping routes is highly original and extremely compelling.

-Kristen Lubben, Executive Director

Yan Cong


From Beijing, Yan Cong is an independent photographer who focuses on women’s issues, rural China, and the country’s relations with its neighbors. For this project, she documents the transition underway in the town of Chongli, which will host some of the alpine events for the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022. One hundred fifty kilometers outside of Beijing, on the outskirts of the relatively sleepy city of Zhangjiakou, Chongli will need to undergo a major transformation to accommodate the international sporting event.

Mari Bastashevski 


Mari Bastashevski combines investigative research, art, and journalism, deliberately blurring the boundaries between these practices. She makes installations that combine text, images, and documents to explore questions of secrecy and access to information, and their intersection with the systems of state and corporate power. Her Cohen Fellowship project, “10,000 Things Out of China,” will explore the often violent and politically ambiguous system of logistics through which most products made in China reach the rest of the world. Centering on the commercial maritime hubs that receive shiploads of products made in China, her reporting will map the route of key commodities exported to Europe and the U.S. and the culture that facilitates this movement.

Simone Salvo