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Friday May 20th

UNC Student shares photos of trip to migrant village

Wyatt Bruton, a senior, wants to “bring the story of Asia back to Chapel Hill” in his new exhibit in the Student Union. As a Phillips Ambassador, Bruton was able to study in China for a semester and upon receiving an additional award, was able to return this summer.
Buy Photos Wyatt Bruton, a senior, wants to “bring the story of Asia back to Chapel Hill” in his new exhibit in the Student Union. As a Phillips Ambassador, Bruton was able to study in China for a semester and upon receiving an additional award, was able to return this summer.

The bright lights and bustling streets of Beijing, China are often photographed.

But rarely do images of migrant children running barefoot down dirt roads on the city outskirts make it into the glossy spreads of travel magazines.

See Bruton’s Exhibit

Opening Reception
Time: September 10, 6-9 p.m.
Location: Student Union Art Gallery
Display: Throughout September

It’s these untold stories that senior Wyatt Bruton hopes to tell with his new exhibit in the gallery of the Student Union.

Beginning today, Bruton will show the hidden sides of Beijing that he came to know during his term abroad in China.

His exhibit of 25 photos tells the story of a migrant village, its school and the people who live there.

Put on by the Phillips Ambassadors scholarship program and the Carolina Union Activities Board, the exhibit leads guests visually on a path from the chaos of the city, down a dirt road and into a village.

Bruton first went to China as a Phillips Ambassador in summer 2009.

The Phillips Ambassador Scholarship program sends students to Asia to study abroad and return home as cultural ambassadors for the continent.

On Bruton’s first weekend in Beijing, a teacher brought him to a migrant village outside the city.

“I ended up falling in love with the kids there and went back every Saturday,” he said.

It was his love for the people in the village that sparked an idea that would earn him a Phillips Alumni Enrichment Fund award.

“When I left Beijing last summer I knew I wanted to come back and tell the story,” Bruton said.

And he did go back, continuing with the Phillips program this summer.

For alumni of the program, the Alumni Enrichment Fund awards students who wish to continue their involvement with Asia. The amount of the award varies on a case-by-case basis.

“The intent of the award is to encourage Phillips Ambassadors to continue their engagement with Asia and to broaden awareness of Asia back home,” Janet Walters, public communications coordinator for Phillips Ambassadors, said.

Earning the award allowed Bruton to tell the tale he said captivated his heart.

The story was that of one family in the migrant village, whose daughter, Grace, attended the HOPE Primary School there.

Wang Hai Shan, Grace’s father, moved to the village from western China to earn more money for his family.

Chinese educational policy does not allow students to attend public schools in a province other than that of their birth, Bruton said. The HOPE school was founded to provide education for students in the village.

“I was inspired by their passion to make ends meet,” Bruton said. “I think their story is really representative of the hope in the village.”

The fund covered the printing and mounting of the photos, but Bruton had to raise money to cover travel and housing expenses while he was in China.

Dan Gold, Asia programs director for UNC Study Abroad, said he thinks the exhibit embodies the spirit of the Alumni Enrichment Award.

“For [Wyatt] to be able to share what moved him with the Carolina students and faculty is what this is all about.”

Contact the Arts Editor at artsdesk@unc.edu.

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