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The Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers stretch from the western edge of China across Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, spanning a distance of 2,500km. They are the lifeblood of the vast, landlocked region between China, Russia, Iran and Afghanistan. The Greeks knew the two rivers as the Oxus and the Jaxartes. An Islamic Hadith holds that they are two of the four rivers that flow into Paradise. The Silk Route linking China to Europe followed the paths of the rivers.
Carolyn Drake’s project, Two Rivers, follows the rivers from their endpoints to the source. It is a photographic record of a place where political allegiances, ethnic bonds, national borders, and physical geography are in constant flux; a vast ecosystem where nature, money, and history are intertwined.
Hotel room in Zhetisay, Kazakhstan. 2009.