Mengwen Cao is a photographer, artist and educator. Born and raised in China, they are currently based in New York. As a queer immigrant, they use care and tenderness to explore spaces between race, gender, and cultural identity. As a board member of Authority Collective and a founding member of Chinese Storytellers, they are championing diverse narratives and perspectives in the media industry.
Their projects have been featured in publications like Aperture, The New York Times, NPR, Mashable, BUST, Foreign Policy, The Guardian, Sina, Tencent. They have participated in international exhibitions like Photoville, Jimei Arles, Lianzhou Foto Festival. Mengwen graduated from the New Media Narratives and Documentary Practice program at the International Center of Photography. They received NLGJA’s Excellence in Photojournalism Award in 2019. They were recognized by The Lit List in 2018, PDN 30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch in 2019 and World Press Photo 6x6 Asia Talent in 2020.
World Press Photo 6x6 Asia Talent
Life After Slavery, Best Multimedia Piece, UK Anti-Slavery Day Media Awards.
PDN 30 New & Emerging Photographers to Watch.
Excellence in Photojournalism Award; NLGJA (The Association of LGBTQ Journalists)
Magnum Foundation Fellow.
The Lit List: 30 Photographers to Watch; Authority Collective.
The New York Times Portfolio Review.
Blink Portfolio Review.
Zhongnanshan Art Residency; Xi’An, China.
Be Spoken World, Times Square, New York.
Chosen, TRNK x Leslie Lohman Museum of Art, New York, New York.
Construccio de la identitat, Barcelona.
Parallax, curated by Authority Collective, Instagram Headquarter, New York, New York.
Parallax, curated by Authority Collective, Photoville, New York, New York.
PDN 30, Photoville, New York, New York.
Parallax, curated by Authority Collective, Photoville, Los Angeles, California.
Refest 2019, Culture Hub, New York, New York.
Fluctuation (China Pulse, 2018, Jimei Arles; Xiamen, China.
Queer & Trans Asian Short Films, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.
Lit List, Photoville; Brooklyn, New York.
What We Say in Cars, New York.
And the Nanshan Mountains Echoed, Xi'an, China.
Lianzhou Photography Festival; Lianzhou, China.
Hidden Narratives, ICP School, Rita K. Hillman Gallery, New York.
Public, Private, Secret, The Museum of International Center of Photography, New York.
Another Kind of Paradise, ICP School, Rita K. Hillman Gallery, New York.
Open Show NYC, Bronx Documentary Center, New York.