09 March 2023
Uyghur: Reclaiming our Story
The Uyghur community's story is often defined by external voices, including the Chinese government, western journalists, politicians, and international legal experts. However, missing from this narrative is the Uyghur people's perception of their own story.
“Reclaiming the Uyghur story is important because we are actively subject to cultural erasure and extinction. To be Uyghur is to be resilient; our resilience defines our identity more than the genocide ever can.”
The Uyghur: Reclaiming our Story exhibition, hosted by School House Studios on March 11th 2023, seeks to reframe the Uyghur story on Uyghur terms.
The exhibition is set to feature an extensive collection of artworks created by Uyghur artists from around the world. Organized by a team of seven individuals, including Nadira Yusuf, Kubilay Kaan, Denara Amat, Fazilat Shu, Inty Elham, Nuria Khasim, and Laura Rose Main, the showcase is designed to highlight the diverse talents of Uyghur artists from the global diaspora. The exhibition is particularly noteworthy for its aim to shift attention away from the headlines and present a fresh perspective on Uyghur identity. Among the artists whose work will be featured are Mukaddas Mijit from France, Fazilat Shu from Australia, Lutpulla from Japan, Camilla Dilshat from the UK, and Ablikim Emet from the USA.
Additionally, the exhibition will feature portraits of the Uyghur community by Sam Biddle, as well as a special performance of Muquam by musical icon Shorhat Tursun, who will be joining from Sydney, and a traditional Uyghur dance by activist Intezar Elham and her sister Tursunay.
The concept for Uyghur: Reclaiming our Story was born out of the need to highlight the community's plight and reclaim their power over their own stories and visual representations.
The exhibition's photography component is an ongoing project facilitated by Sam Biddle, featuring images and accompanying text from Uyghurs across the global diaspora. Each text is entirely up to the person in the photograph to decide what they'd like to say, from poetry to stories of family members detained in camps.
“The largest genocide since the holocaust is happening right now. But to who? If you look at the headlines a singular story of Uyghur identity emerges. But for the people in this project, genocide does not define the sum of their identity, culture, dreams or power. “
Despite potential safety risks, the artists involved in the exhibition are motivated to participate in reclaiming their power over their own stories and visual representations. The exhibition's anticipated aspects include the celebration of Uyghur culture as resistance, showcasing the diversity of Uyghur identity, and creating new narratives that are proudly defined by Uyghurs, not the Chinese Government.
Uyghur: Reclaiming our Story exhibition is a powerful statement of resistance and resilience by the Uyghur community. It is a celebration of the rich culture and 8000 years of history of the Uyghur community, and a call for the world to pay attention to the plight of the Uyghurs and support their fight for justice and freedom.
Ultimately, the exhibition is a significant step in highlighting the Uyghur community's struggle against cultural erasure and genocide. The exhibition's aim to publish a book featuring stories and photos from Uyghurs worldwide is a crucial aspect of reclaiming their narrative and raising awareness about the ongoing atrocities faced by the Uyghur community. By amplifying their voices and stories, this exhibition and book hope to inspire action and support for the Uyghur community's fight for justice and freedom.
Uyghur: Reclaiming our Story will be held at School House Studios in Coburg, on Saturday 11th of March, from 6pm - 9pm.
Tickets are available via the Good Exposure events page.