Life In Balance: Cultural Identity of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, China.
by Ashok Sinha
“Life In Balance” documents the identity and traditional way of life of the ethnic Uyghur community of Xinjiang, China in the face of forced migration and increasing threats of assimilation into the “official” mainstream of Chinese society.
The Uyghurs of the Xinjiang region are a Turkic-Muslim ethnicity and have historically struggled to establish their identity within the fabric of communist China. The government has used various means to engender forced migration of Uyghurs from their native homeland by promoting rural and urban migration of primarily ethnic Han Chinese to Xinjiang and by banning or discouraging many cultural, linguistic, and religious aspects of Uyghur culture. In 2009, a large part of the Old City of Kashgar, a cornerstone of the Uyghurs’cultural identity, was demolished. This has had the most profound demographic effect in the region and as a result more than fifty thousand Uyghurs were forced to leave their ancestral homes and alter or completely abandon their traditional way of life.
While working on a project in China, I attempted to create a visual record of the Uyghurs’ traditional culture and lifestyle as a testament to their unique identity.
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