Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Ryan Pyle Blog: Exhibition: Chinese Turkistan


For many of you, coming to Toronto to see my exhibition on Chinese Turkistan was simply impossible. So I have prepared a link with the images so that you can view. Enjoy.

IMAGES LINK: http://archive.ryanpyle.com/my/glbs.aspx?msid=2223&lid=15392186&e=0&p=0

Ryan Pyle has been visiting China's western Xinjiang province regularly since 2001. But it wasn't until a recent trip in 2006 that he decided to begin to focus his camera on this mysterious and remote part of the world.

Formerly known as Chinese Turkistan, this vast expanse of deserts and mountains has seemingly always been at a crossroads between cultures and time. For centuries criminals, holy men, and traders tramped across the region; and it was out of this tradition that the silk road was established.

Surrounded on three sides by some of the highest mountain ranges in the world, with the Gobi desert blocking the fourth, Chinese Turkistan is one of the most isolated places on earth.

Ryan, in his project, has begun to look at life in this region. Drawn by its abundance of life, colorful minorities, harsh landscapes and Islam; Ryan visits mosques, local herdsmen, farming communities and former silk road trading posts trying to capture what he feels is a culture under threat from China's breakneck growth in the region.

"The culture is vanishing before my eyes", Ryan says, "each time I return something is missing: a market, an old shop full of blacksmiths, a local mosque." Traveling only with a Uygur translator, Ryan feels that the importance of capturing this culture is paramount because it is disappearing. "No other country in the world is knocking down old buildings faster to make way for new hotels, highways and airports than China. A few more years and there might not be much left at all; the whole country, from Beijing to Kashgar, is starting to look the same. A pity really, the cultural diversity being lost is not something that can be faked, or easily brought back. This cultural fabric will be lost forever."


Ryan Pyle
Website: www.ryanpyle.com
Archive: http://archive.ryanpyle.com

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Ryan Pyle