The Curse of Geography is an on-going series of investigative reports focused on the relationship of geographic isolation or proximity on social justice, human rights and public policy in selected locations around the world. Our reports are produced in multi-media format and in partnership with artists, journalists, NGOs, academic and cultural institutions, and news outlets.
In this fourth installment of The Curse of Geography, Sidd Joag and Xu Shuang report from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, sometimes referred to as “the Rooftoop of the World.” Joag writes: “It is the highest plateau on earth, formed by the collision of the Indian and Eurasian Plates, and it continues to rise by approximately one inch every five years due to the unremitting movement of the plates. At three miles above sea level, and surrounded by the Himalayan, Karakoram, Kunlun, and Qilian mountain ranges, it is some of the most rugged and inhospitable terrain on earth…” Joag highlights the evolving relationship and dynamic between art, development, environmentalism, and social change in the region.
The full text of the piece on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau can be accessed via the Curse of Geography website, along with previous reports on lobster fishing and drug trafficking in La Mosquitia, the far eastern coast of Honduras, the diminishing local fishing communities of Western Newfoundland. and the report on Badakhshan, the home to the primary trafficking route for opiates and heroin smuggled from Afghanistan through Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and into Russia and Europe.
Suzy Xu Shuang (徐爽) is a visual storyteller of ancient and contemporary cultural traditions. She explores portraiture and landscape photography in poetic ways. Xu is a 2019-2020 ArtsEverywhere Artist-in-Residence.
Sidd Joag is a visual artist, journalist and producer working on issues closely related to social inequality and human rights. He is the Managing Editor at ArtsEverywhere and a member of public art collective Amber Art & Design.