Out of Eden Walk Supports the Institute of Contemporary Arts at NYU Shanghai

Oct 27 2022

In August 2022, the nonprofit project Out of Eden Walk, led by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Paul Salopek, provided a gift to the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) at NYU Shanghai. Out of Eden Walk's support will make it possible to realize the ICA's first summer program in collaboration with Out of Eden Walk, whilst supporting the ICA to continue to serve as a non-profit kunsthalle and research center committed to the development, presentation, and exchange of diverse ideas through contemporary arts. 

“We are thrilled to embark on this unprecedented endeavor with the Out of Eden Walk and Paul Salopek. While the ICA is still an emerging program, NYU Shanghai and Out of Eden are soon celebrating ten-year anniversaries. This gift enables us both to extend our overlapping missions and shared experiments in learning, research, and public engagement,” said ICA at NYU Shanghai Director Michelle Hyun.  

Founded by Pulitzer Prize winner, journalist, and writer Paul Salopek, the Out of Eden Walk project is sponsored by the National Geographic Society and Knight Foundation. Out of Eden Walk is a nonprofit organization that records ​​Salopek’s decade-long, 24,000-mile foot journey to retrace human ancestors’ ancient migration route from Ethiopia to South America. In October 2021, he embarked on the “Middle Kingdom” chapter of this journey through China, beginning from the southern border in Yunnan province, walking over 6,000 kilometers along the transversal Hu line, and continuing through China’s northern frontier with Russia.

Salopek is no stranger to NYU Shanghai. In August 2021, he came to the campus to share inspiring observations and amazing discoveries from his epic journey. NYU Shanghai students, faculty, and staff attended this talk in person and had a lively discussion. Salopek also announced his plan to partner with NYU Shanghai throughout his stay in China


In September 2021, Paul Salopek arrived on Century Avenue to share with the NYU Shanghai community his journey so far

Derived from research conducted during the “Middle Kingdom” chapter of the Out of Eden Walk, ICA's multimedia storytelling exhibition in Summer 2023 features pieces from artists who have ventured into the field as well as contributors encountered along the road. The exhibition, which will be co-curated by Paul Salopek and Out of Eden Curatorial Fellow June Ke, seeks to generate open-ended dialogue on walking as an alternative approach to listening and storytelling.

“I've learned that slowing down my life to a walking pace has made the world new again. Discoveries I would have missed by moving too fast await me every day along my walking route,” Salopek said. “By collaborating in a multimedia storytelling exhibition with the ICA at NYU-Shanghai, we can showcase the work of Chinese storytellers and artists interpreting their home landscapes at foot level—and sharing their own revelations.”