Becoming Chinese / Carolyn Drake

December 2010

Exhibit opening, screening, & talk

Tuesday December 7, 2010, 7:30 PM
Moderated by Rebecca Horne, photo director at Discover magazine

Since 2007, I have been documenting the Uighur people in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, a vast, arid end-point to the Central Asian Silk Road above Tibet. “Becoming Chinese” focuses on where Uighurs ply trades and work farms, scrum open-air markets, traverse trucking routes, and try to transmit an ethnic culture under siege. China’s policy to develop its western frontier has sent millions of loyal Han Chinese into Xinjiang, home to about 10 million Uighurs. Though unofficial, China’s efforts to wipe out the Uighurs' millennia-old culture is ongoing. Against overwhelming tides, Uighurs continue to aspire to cultural and political autonomy, and at times to independence. These images provide glimpses into the disappearing spaces of their daily lives.


CAROLYN DRAKE was born in 1971 in Los Angeles, CA. She is a Fulbright fellow and Guggenheim grantee. Her Uighur project has been partly funded by a Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize. The Half King’s “Becoming Chinese” exhibit will be the first showing of this work.


All photos © Carolyn Drake.