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The Uyghurs (Hardback)

Kashgar before the Catastrophe

Hobbies & Lifestyle > Photography

Imprint: George F. Thompson
Pages: 248
Illustrations: 128 illustrations: 116 duotone and 8 color photographs by the author and 4 historic maps
ISBN: 9781938086991
Published: 15th May 2023



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In 1998, Kevin Bubriski was fortunate to spend time with the Uyghurs in Kashgar, their ancient city on the Silk Road in Xinjiang, China. While there, he made unforgettable photographic portraits and street scenes that reveal a haunting beauty and sense of the past in old Kashgar. Bubriski was drawn to the faces of ordinary people and their daily lives, with the intent that through photographs mutual understanding between people might be fostered. Although 1998 was an uncomfortable time of rapid transformation for the Uyghurs, their oasis city in the high desert was still vibrant, even as the Chinese government’s brutal crackdown was about to commence. In the last few years, up to a million Uyghurs have been detained in “re-education camps” while others have been subjected to forced sterilizations and wider persecution. The vibrancy, beauty, and grit that Bubriski witnessed and photographed more than two decades ago has irrevocably changed. The Uyghur cultural, economic, familial, religious, and spiritual traditions are captured in Bubriski’s images and the extensive text by Tahir Hamut Izgil and the late Dru Gladney. These traditions, interwoven in Uyghurs’ lives and community for more than two millennia, have been severely impacted by the overt and disastrous policies of the Chinese government’s crackdown on Uyghur civil, spiritual, and cultural activities. The Uyghur community is now fractured and split due to widespread surveillance, mass detentions, and incarcerations. This book is also presented in a bilingual edition so that it is not only accessible to Uyghur people living in non-English-speaking regions of the world, but a way for Uyghurs around the world to reaffirm their cultural and social identity wherever they now live. As many Uyghur families are now separated due to detentions or flight to asylum elsewhere, the book is meant to be an enduring gift for the Uyghur people and for all who wish to understand better Uyghur culture and history. Bubriski’s book is a stunning work of art that reveals an earlier time when Kashgar, beloved city of the Uyghurs, retained much of its traditional life and charm.

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