All posts filed under: Editorial

Year in Review: Most Overlooked in 2015

Last week we wrote about our most popular posts written in 2015. But what about pieces from the ALCCA archive that deserved more attention then they received over the past year? For all of you readers who are new to The Art of Life in Chinese Central Asia, here is a list of our most overlooked pieces in 2015. Abdulla, King of Uyghur Pop: His Themes Although much can be said about the way Abdulla’s poetic voice corresponds with his deep literacy in Uyghur culture, clearly he does much more than lean on the traditions of the past.  Although this attention to cultural symbolism and spiritual ritual are an important aspect of his public persona, Abdulla is also deeply engaged in the everyday life of increasingly urban Northwest China. In order to understand the depth of his appeal, here we outline the themes which emerge from his catalog and analyze one of these themes. What It Means To Be A Uyghur Man Watching the leaked surveillance video of two men walking with a sea of …

Best of the Art of Life in Chinese Central Asia from 2015

Over the past year we have continued write about the ways in which the people who live in Chinese Central Asia find ways to tell their stories and create meaning in their lives. Despite the precariousness of life under Xi Jinping’s “People’s War on Terror,” there have been many new developments in contemporary art, film and photography. At the same time Uyghurs have continued to draw on their traditions to find strength and meaning in the present in Xinjiang and around the world. Thank you to all of you for your continued support and readership! New Uyghur Interior Design and the Art of Dilmurat Abdukadir As social scientists since Pierre Bourdieu have noted, people with disposable incomes purchase forms of distinction by cultivating a sense of taste in what they consume. Middle class Uyghurs perform their distinctiveness as high-class Uyghurs by eating Uyghur-style Turkish food in uniquely non-Chinese spaces. They go to these restaurants to be seen by other Uyghurs. In an iteration of capitalist development around the world, new upscale restaurants are becoming sites …

A Uyghur Chinese New Year

The Uyghur language Spring Festival song and dance spectacular “New Xinjiang, New Melody” is back! After a five year absence following the disasters of the Year of the Ox, the Xinjiang Ministry of Culture in association the Bureau of Public Relations has welcomed in the Year of the Horse with a line-up of all the usual Uyghur superstars. Headlined by Abdulla (53:25) and supported by Möminjan (51:45), Six City (42:32), Ablajan (22:59), Berna (15:55) and a host of others, the event was intended to introduce a “brand-new Xinjiang style” to the nation. The multicultural event even featured a Han singer Wang Jian (39:19) singing a famous song from Kumul in Uyghur and the write up for the concert boasts of Hui, Kazakh, Kirgiz and Mongol involvement in the performances. Perhaps the most moving moment came with the great Ekber Qehrimin singing “Oasis Poplar” (Tёrek Bostan) (26:37)  – a heartbreaking classic from the golden age of the 1980s. Here’s to a year in Xinjiang where moments of happiness like these come often.