Vanishing Faces, Disappearing Places : Tibet
(Sichuan, Gansu, Qinghai, China)
The current pace of development around the world has brought widespread concern about a loss of diversity in nature and the need to protect endangered species. But the changes brought by the forces of globalization, industrialization and urbanization affect not only animals and plants. People and cultures, ways of thinking and ways of living that have been in existence for thousands of years, are also at risk. Vanishing Faces of Tibet takes a glimpse of the traditional Tibetan culture. Confronted with the assimilative policies of the Chinese government and the rapid modernization and urbanization of their traditional homeland, Tibetans are facing enormous social pressures. As new roads are built and new towns spring up in the mountains and grasslands, young Tibetans are either being forced out by rapid development or lured away by the promise of a better life in town. In the process, they are leaving behind local languages, customs and traditions, connections to family and their roots and succumbing to the pressure to conform to a world that is becoming less varied and more homogenous with less human connections. A celebration of diversity, these photographs call out for balance in economic development and social transformation. They are a reminder that people everywhere must be able to enjoy and contribute to an advancing world, without sacrificing their identities and their cultures. Traditional cultures and traditions should be nurtured and embraced with pride, understanding and tolerance; not to be cast aside with fear and ignorance. The world’s diverse faces and intriguing places enrich us all and keep us all connected to who we are and the people around us. Knowing those that vanish will never be restored, we must proceed with caution, before it is too late.