ONCE A SILK ROAD BY ADAM RUSZKOWSKI
  • Thu, 04/18/2013 - 21:51

Photos by Adam Ruszkowski

The largest ethnic group, the Muslim, Turkic-speaking Uighurs, has lived in China’s shadow for centuries.
The region has had an intermittent history of autonomy and occasional independence, but was finally brought under Chinese control in the 18th century.Xinjiang stands at the crossroads between China, India, the Mediterranean, and Russia and has, since the Bronze Age, played a pivotal role in the social, cultural, and political development of Asia and the world.
Xinjiang was once the hub of the Silk Road and the gateway through which Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam entered China.

It was also the point at which the Chinese, Turkic, Tibetan, and Mongolian empires communicated and struggled with one another. Xinjiang’s population includes Kazakhs, Kirghiz, and Uighurs, as well as Han Chinese. Competing Chinese and Turkic nationalist visions continue to threaten the region’s political and economic stability. Besides separatist concerns, Xinjiang’s energy resources, strategic position, and rapid development have gained it international attention in recent decades.The Uighurs and their Han rulers are engaged in a cycle of violence and despair. Recent tensions between them were running high due to the seemingly heedless destruction of the old city of Kashgar. Buildings of enormous historical and cultural significance are being torn down to make way for highways and apartment blocks that symbolise the Chinese economic miracle. Uighur families who have lived in Kashgar for decades are being forcibly evicted to new homes on the outskirts of the city. My photo project tries to capture this transitional moment in Xinjiang’s history.

Born in Poland in 1984, photographer and documentary filmmaker living in Shenzhen, China.
M.A. degree in literature and film from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan and Erasmus University in Rotterdam.
During his studies Adam traveled extensively around Asia, Europe and USA, in 2007 he moved to China.
His work focuses on cultures in decline, outskirts of globalized world, where traditional communities undergo rapid social and economic transformations, struggling to preserve their cultural identity. His first documentary video “Flowers for the butcher” dealt with the unconsciousness of industrial China, describing life in a post apocalyptic Chinese village that came to life in the middle of an empty neon city. His other films were shot in Myanmar, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Tibet. His work has been shown in places such as East Doc International Documentary Film Festival, Impakt Festival, Cracow Film Festival Film mart and Loft 345 Art Gallery in Guangzhou, China.
Adam also works as a freelance cinematographer and literature teacher at Beijing Line College in Shenzhen, China.

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