A Project by Chow and Lin

"One day our grandchildren will go to museums to see what poverty was like." -  Muhammad Yunus


The Poverty Line uses the universal lens of food to examine the daily choices you would face if you lived at the poverty line. Over the last 8 years, the artists travelled 150,000 km to photograph this project across 31 countries. 

The project takes a typological approach over time. Each country's figure is based on their poverty line definition and official national statistics to derive a per capita per day rate. Food is then procured from local markets using that monetary amount. 

Each piece of work is photographed with the food items placed on local newspapers purchased on the day of the shoot, with the dimensions, lighting carefully measured to express a uniform aesthetic across time and geographical spread. 

The project was referenced by the World Bank and exhibited as large scale installations at the Pavillon Carré de Baudouin, Paris (2015), PMQ, Hong Kong (2015), Studio 94, Taipei (2015), Museum of Modern Art, Tblisi (2013), Three Shadows Art Centre, Beijing (2012) and the United Nations, Bangkok (2018). The project has been extensively featured in international media including BBC, Le Monde, CNN, Foreign Policy and is currently in the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago and Central Academy of Fine Art Museum, Beijing.

Chow and Lin are currently based in Beijing, China.