Stephen JB Kelly

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TOP TO BOTTOM, from (“Qi Lihe“)
© Stephen Kelly, 2009

Stephen JB Kelly documented the lives of ethnic Muslim minorities living in Lanzhou, a city in China’s north west. The government’s treatment of the Uighurs have dominated the news in recent months. Stephen’s series comes at a right time, shedding light onto a world previously ignored by the outside world.

From his statement:

Qi Lihe is home to thousands of Muslim migrant families who have left their homeland within the Linxia Hui autonomous prefecture and arrived into the city searching for job opportunities and ultimately, a better life. For hundreds of years the Hui and Dongxiang Muslim minorities have farmed the arid land surrounding their ancestral villages. In recent years though, desertification has forced this once workable landscape to begin a dramatic change, impelling many modern day farmers and their families to seek a better existence in Lanzhou.

The work is a documentation of culture, modernization, oppression and environmental destruction all rolled into one. This is a story that has been repeated too many times in our short history. Once again, we’re reminded of the things we leave behind in the name of progress.

Visit his online portfolio to see the rest of the series.