All posts tagged: Art

New Uyghur Interior Design and the Art of Dilmurat Abdukadir

On the top floor of the Aq Saray or the White Palace hotel in Ürümchi is a massive reproduction of Napoleon Crossing the Alps by Jacques-Louis David. He is flanked on his left by a reproduction of Ivan Kramskoi’s Portrait of an Unknown Woman (which everyone associates with Anna Karenina). Across the expansive red room, otherwise decorated in the style of a Russian tea room, gigantic reproductions of Venetian canals and cityscapes fill out the walls. Overhead murals of clouds, star constellations, and pheasants in flight glow against the ornate heavy white archways that surround them. The paintings are the works of Dilmurat Abdukadir– who was hired by the owner of the restaurant to produce life-sized images of paintings the owner had found on the Internet. The space is fascinating. Not only does it unapologetically embrace an amalgam of European aesthetics, but it is symptomatic of larger trends in Uyghur restaurant politics and aesthetics. Somewhere around 2008, scholars began to notice that Turkish imports were on the rise in Xinjiang. Suddenly chocolates from the massive …

On the First Uyghur Contemporary Art Show

The first Uyghur contemporary art exhibition opened at the Xinjiang Contemporary Art Museum on May 16. The opening was attended by several hundred people from across the province, including most of the represented artists. Since the majority of the painters were teachers or professors, many leading administrators from local universities were also present. Aside from them and a few Han painters from local art schools that the museum’s leading curator, Zeng Chunkai, had invited for the opening, nearly everyone was Uyghur. Even a famous Uyghur public intellectual, Yalkun Rozi, came and praised the artists – although he clearly didn’t understand contemporary art. Everyone I spoke with was thrilled by the opening. Several viewers were amazed to see Uyghurs given voice in a professional contemporary art space. Just seeing their work on the wall was a major thing. The artists I spoke with felt as though the exhibition — which will last until June 16 — was a turning point in the Uyghur contemporary art scene. To them it presaged greater recognition and further development outside of Xinjiang and into the world. Actually the exhibition …

The Best of the Art of Chinese Central Asia in 2014

There were many changes in Xinjiang in 2014. While some segments of the population saw 2014 as a year full of exciting new developments; others saw it as a year of increased desperation. Despite these changes life goes on. People always find a ways to survive and thrive. Below are our five most read pieces in 2014. Thank you to all of you that follow this blog for your continued support and readership. We are looking forward to bringing you more interesting stories of life in Chinese Central Asia in 2015. So You Think Uyghurs Can Dance? May 2014 “With the so much attention being paid to violence emanating from Xinjiang, many of you may have missed the parade of Uyghur dancers who have recently taken the stage on the Chinese version of “So You Think You Can Dance” (Zhongguo Hao Wudao). Not only do we have the child star turned adult tap-dancer Yusupjan, the nine-year old break-dancer Surat Taxpolat who goes by the stagename “Little Meatball”, and the teenage break dancerUmid Tursun but we also have the model family …

The Art of “Opening-up and Cooperating for the Building of the Silk Road Economic Belt”

It was a busy week in Ürümchi: musicals, archaeology exhibits, art shows, a ComiCon festival, and thousands of visitors from outside the “autonomous” region. Special bus lines were put in place; millions of potted flowers were carefully arranged in sculpted dune patterns; street corners were plastered with giant red billboards which (a la the Shanghai Expo 2010) featured a dancing cartoon named Heavenly Horse Star (Tianma Xingqi), the slogan: “Opening-up and Cooperating for the Building of the Silk Road Economic Belt,” and the logo for the fourth China-Eurasia Trade Expo. According to an official press release, people from 60 countries participated in the events. National leaders such as Kazakhstan’s new Prime Minister Karim Masimov and the Kyrgyz Prime Minister Djoomart Otorbaev came for high level transportation and trade talks. If the projected 200,000 attendees actually came to check out the displays of industry, development and “person-to-person” communication than the event made 10 million yuan from the sale of 50 yuan door tickets alone. One of the most important slogans for the expo (floating above a …