Sculpture in Karamay

The Relics of Empire: Resource Extraction and the Making of Modern Xinjiang

Sculpture in Karamay

The theme of a powerful connection between extraction enterprises and the construction of modern Xinjiang is carried forward in this stone engraving in the garden of Karamay’s Xinjiang Oil Geology Exhibition Hall. Only one section of a far longer horizontal sculpture, this picture depicts workers as heroic pioneers playing a central role in the twentieth-century transformation of Xinjiang. In this narrative, which the state continues to actively promote, Xinjiang is transformed by the efforts of these pioneers from a largely unincorporated, poor backwater into a prosperous, developed region inextricably bound to the Chinese nation-state.