Dungannon Through Chinese Eyes

This collaboration and publication of reflections and images of Dungannon through the eyes of Gao Ningyu, a Chinese teacher, artist and poet who taught and lived in Dungannon during the Covid Lockdown period.

About the Project

I’ve have been studying Mandarin Chinese for four years at the University of Ulster Confucious Institute at South West College, Dungannon and am currently studying for HSK4, the official Chinese Proficiency Test for non-native speakers administered by Hanban, an agency of the Ministry of Education of  the People’s Republic of China.  My Chinese teachers have enriched my understanding and knowledge of Chinese Language,  Culture and Philosophy, and have given me a window to another world where, though our history and politics may differ, we have more in common than we are different. 


Dungannon in County Tyrone is an historic town built on an historic hill, the Hill of ‘The O’Neill.’ The O’Neill’s were chieftains of the clans and lands of Tír Eoghain and built a castle on the hill. They surrendered their lands and authority to the English and had both restored as gifts of the Monarch under the English system. Hugh O’Neill led an Ulster rebellion against the English policy and after nine years of war was defeated. The leaders of the rebellion fled to Europe in what was known as The Flight of the Earls. The English then founded a ‘ Plantation’ town on the site, which grew into what is now Dungannon. This is our history of conflict. Since the 1998 Peace Agreement which brought about an end to our most recent political instability, violence and armed conflict, Dungannon has grown and become home to an increasingly diverse population from all parts of the world. Our immigrant population has enriched us our lives in many ways, not least in seeing our ourselves, our history and our shared place through a different lens. I cannot think of a more beautiful encapsulation of that ‘different lens’ than the collection of personal photographs contained in this book. Gao Ningu came to Dungannon to teach. Her photographs focus on the particular beauty within the moment of the ordinary present which we all share without reference to a past which is not her history. She teaches us to look twice, mindfully with an open heart. Gao also has exceptional talent which did not escape the eye of local artist Gwen Stevenson, who encouraged and supported Gao by contributing her own considerable art and design skills and experience to publish the photographs. Small actions of solidarity have enabled a work of enduring beauty of shared place to be shared, and it has been a joy to have been able to help make it happen.

project images


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