This is an ongoing conceptual project at Uygur Autonomous Region in China. The region has a population of about 25 million, among whom 60 percent are ethnic minorities. I had a chance to visit the Uyghur Autonomous Region including Urumchi, Ili, Bortala, Altay, Changji, Aksu, Avati, Kasgar, Tashkurgan, Aksu, Kizilsu autonomous administration, speak with and photograph many people with diverse ethnic origins like Uyghur, Han, Kazak, Hui, Xibo, Tajik, Kirghiz and Mongol, who lived in these regions.
In an interview I studied, a member of Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences, sociologist Turgunjan Tursun noted that the development programs focusing on market economy were creating a gap between better-educated and socially close Han and Uyghur peoples. However, it is possible to see serious investments by the government that could help grow the economic prosperity and fair sharing of the wealth, which I think could significantly help close the gap noted by Tursun.
Vast energy and mineral resources in the region have made the Xinjiang an important part of China's "Great Western Development" campaign, and increased its importance to China's modernization goals. But in spite of the country's official policy of religious freedom and the cultural-preservation programs enshrined in Chinese law, the Uighurs' main challenge in the 21st century will be to maintain cultural and religious continuity with those vibrant institutions and traditions of the past. Increasing Han Chinese migration to the region, developing cross-border trade with the new Central Asian states and growing international tourism—the modern continuation of the themes of Xinjiang’s 2000-year history—have once again opened the region to an array of international influences. One can only hope that Uighur and other local cultures will continue to flourish and develop in this new period of globalization.
Can the people of the region adapt to this situation? Maybe, it can be most important question.
“Xinjiang’s Social Unrest Not Always Terrorism”, Tungunjan Tursun, Global Times, 26 Sep 2011
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I realized a creative portrait photography project in September 2011-2013 at Northern Xinjiang. The region has a population of about 21 million, among whom 60 percent are ethnic minorities.
These manipulated portraits reflect many ethnic groups in Xinjiang, mainly the Uygur, Han, Kazak, Hui, Mongolian, Kirgiz, Xibe, Tajik, Ozbek, Manchu, Daur, Tatar and Russian. (2011-2013)
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Mardin : Gate of Mesopotamia
Mardin is a province of Turkey with a population of 850,000 nearly. Located near the traditional boundary of Anatolia and Mesopotamia, it has a diverse population, composed by Kurdish, Turkish, Arab and Syriac people. The culture of Mardin bears the imprint of various antique civilizations flourishing in the area. Mardin has an enormous historical, cultural and architectural richness. Mardin's cultural diversity is further enriched by the deep-rooted culture of various communities including the oldest Christian community, the Suryani. The ezan from mosques lives in brotherhood with church bells at the city of tolerance. It is a candidate for UNESCO's List of "Cities of World Heritage". (2012)
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The captures by mobile phone camera during train ride throughout North-South-North Switzerland... (2010)
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nihility or identity
This work is piece of contemporary series was named "Nihility or Identity" that observes social and ideological metamorphosis of young Turkish generation in globalism era.
Analog photography and digital montage.
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In my project is named “Imagined Views” is completed in 1988 at Lake Mogan (Ankara) with analogue photo technique completely. I tried to describe man looking for mental and sensitive freedom in the wide landscape scenes which are reinforced and coloured areas using filters while shooting. According to the pantheism, this is a relationship between God-Nature-Human. Only, I imagined such a freedom, virtue of which bears on man’s lonely life. (1988)
If art is a language to express myself, then inspiration ought to be the very life in which I am. And societal issues troubling me every so often, and sometimes my own dilemmas… Lies in the foundation of all a moral and humanitarian urge to question, shaped by one’s own ideologies. Indubitably to me, starting off with strong concepts devoid of mass-market meretriciousness, putting them in a story line and choosing the right material to ensure a firm expression make up the indispensable principles.
I maintain that an artist, and naturally his work, can not be deprived of a reflection of his ideology. In a sense, your ideology is a prime source of your stance in life.
Tahir Ün was born in Turkey. He holds a BA degree from Language and History-Geography Faculty of Ankara University, where he studied History of European Arts.
He worked in the advertising and public relations companies between 1985–1995 and gave lectures in photography in the Center of Contemporary Arts in Ankara and in the Vocational College in Kara Elmas University in Safranbolu between 1995-1999 years.
He was one of the founders of the Institution of the Art Photography (FSK) in 1994. His photographs are published in many magazines as “Foto” Magazine by Revista Foto S. L. , Madrid, Spain, “Zoom International” Magazine by Progreso Fotografico Editrice, Italy and “Foto Kino Magazine tillaeg International Photography” by Konkordia Kvissel, Denmark since 1983 and accepted some collections as Polaroid Collection, Ransom Center Photography, State Museum of Majdenek, Rhizome Artbase, etc.
Tahir Ün published three books are titled “Imagined Views/Moments of Revulsion” Photographs in 1990 and “The Poetic Introduction of Representation of the Hidden Photograph” Poems in 1995 and “Xinjiang : My Ancestral Land” photographs in 2012. Also, his articles about image theory are published in Turkish art magazines since 2000. His works have been displayed in numerous events including 24 one-man exhibitions.
He received some photo and video awards are below:
- The Honorable Mention is awarded (for “China meet to Turkey” juried exhibition) by China Radio International (CRI) and Beijing Consulate of Turkey, (2013), China.
- The Honorable Mention is awarded (for China Portraits Project) by PAA(Photo Annual Awards) (2013), Czech Republic.
- The Honorable Mention is awarded (for Nahcivan Project) by FotoVisura Grant (2013), U.S.A.
- The Best VideoArt Prize (for Pose) by Patras Independent Film & Video Festival (2012), Greece.
- The 2nd. Prize for Experimental Video (for Facial Perception) by Krakow SnapFilm Festival (2012), Poland.
- The Best Digital Image Prize is awarded by Fonland Festival (2011), Portugal.
- The Sahin Kaygun Prize is awarded as the best Turkish Photographer of International Exhibition by AFAD and Seyhan Municipality (1993),Turkey.
- The First Prize in Black and White Photography is awarded by The Ministry of Culture (1992),Turkey.
- Selected as “2000 Years’ Artist” by Turkish Radio Television (TRT), (1991), Turkey.
He has been working periodically at Xinjiang (Uighur) Autonomous Region of China, Balkans, Azerbaijan and Turkey as a freelance photographer.
Tahir Ün is currently active in documentary photography, conceptual photography and also in new media arts. He is an instructor in the Communication Faculty of Yasar University at Izmir.
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