Kids at Play, Dusk, Kashgar
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For the past 15 years, I have been making pilgrimages to the deserts and mountains of China's western borders, focusing on Tibetan and Uyghur communities. These remote frontier regions are laced with contested geographies where religious and cultural legacies confront powerful economic and political transformations. In these far away places, I look for way stations between cultures where one can see the past and future simultaneously. Seeing these changes over such a short time is a perspective that is at once disorienting and tragic. I try to make images that show these things, or at least some of the emotional truths behind them, because I know each time I return everything will be almost unrecognizable. This picture was taken several years ago, just outside of Kashgar, in front of a local mosque. I returned recently to find the whole area razed and replaced by shoddy cinder block apartments coated with white tiles. Indigenous architecture has always been a part of Kashgar's great cultural legacy and it is being destroyed at a breathtaking rate. In spring 2009, the Chinese government decided to completely tear down Kashgar's old city, a vast warren of mud-brick buildings that make up the heart of the city.
Raul Gutierrez | See All Editions