by Patrick Wack

The monograph Dust gathers four years of work by French documentary photographer Patrick Wack shot in the areas of Central Asia known as East Turkistan or Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region under the current Chinese administration.
In recent years, the region has been at the centre of an international outcry following the mass-incarceration of its Uyghur population and other Muslim minorities. This body of work captures a visual narrative of the region over the course of four years and is a testimony to its abrupt descent into an Orwellian dystopia.
In 2016 and 2017, Wack spent more than two months in Xinjiang photographing Out West, his first long-term project about the region. Upon reading reports of the mass arbitrary detention system being set up in the region, he decided to return in 2019, travelling back to Xinjiang on two separate occasions for another project, The Night Is Thick. This second series aimed at documenting life under acute repression among the Uyghur minority alongside the disturbing simultaneous increase of Han-Chinese tourism in the region. Cultural genocide and folklorization go hand in hand in Xinjiang.
These images have been widely published over the past four years, helping to illustrate the situation in the region. Recent events in Xinjiang are now considered some of the most severe crimes against humanity currently unfolding in the world.