[W]ild Pigeon tells a story of the Uyghurs, a people of Turkish descent living in the Xinjiang province in Western China. Like Tibetans, Uyghurs have a very old culture that is being torn apart as China expands. As a result of the Chinese government sending millions of Han Chinese migrants to this resource-rich Muslim frontier, the Uyghurs are being pushed to the fringes, their protests and voices suppressed. Their culture and language are on the path to extinction.
This photographic inquiry into the daily life and rituals of Uyghurs stems from the urge to document the gradual disappearance of their rich culture, and to challenge Western audiences to empathize with a story where the protagonists are Muslim.
In 2005, Nurmuhemmet Yasin was put in prison for publishing an allegorical story about the Uyghur struggle entitled Wild Pigeon, about a wild pigeon who decides that he would rather kill himself than live in captivity. This project is an homage to a daring writer and an attempt to give breadth to the Uyghur side of the story of Xinjiang.
(Carolyn Drake | Wild Pigeon, PRIVATE 54 – LOST, pages 76-81)