View the on-site exhibition virtually below!

Civil Disobedience Movement & People Displaced by War

by collective photographers

This exhibition is a presentation of photographs taken by a collective of photographers representing different communities in Burma.

At the same time that civil war in Burma continues into over its 70th year, a nation-wide civil disobedience movement (CDM) led by Generation Z is spreading across the nation. This movement was sparked by General Min Aung Hlaing’s coup in the morning hours of February 1. The democratically elected government of the National League for Democracy was overthrown and many of its leaders taken into custody or house arrest. The military declared a year-long state of emergency and appointed a new government — a junta called the State Administration Council (SAC).

The day after the coup, healthcare workers and civil servants all over the country — including the capital Naypyitaw — launched a civil disobedience movement (CDM) opposed to the military takeover. On February 3, workers at a copper mine also went on strike. They were soon followed by employees from other sectors of society; teachers and civil servants soon joined the movement. People all over Burma adopted a clear and direct slogan: “No recognition, no participation, no military dictatorship.” Now street demonstrations are happening in all major cities and towns, and the three-finger salute is being used by protesters everywhere. The nation wide CDM is entering its 4th week as armored vehicles equipped with machine guns have been deployed in Yangon and other cities and towns. Violence is on the rise as the military regime issues new orders, including a ban on public protests. These orders are widely ignored, despite several incidents of demonstrators being shot with live ammunition. Since the military coup, 8 civilians have been killed by police and armed forces. (as of Feb 25).

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Karen and Shan State of Burma/Myanmar

by Hseng Noung Lintner & collective photographers

Since the military coup of February 1, over one thousand civilians have been displaced by fighting between ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) and the Burma Army in three townships in northern Shan State: Kyaukme, Namtu and Hsipaw. In December 2020 there were multiple clashes between EAOs in northern Shan State. As fighting has intensified, civilians have been caught in the crossfire and there have been many civilian casualties since December 2020. Every time there is fighting between the Burmese army and EAOs, or between EAOs, civilians suffer the most. They have to leave their villages to take refuge in temples or IDP camps established in nearby towns. In the past three months (Dec 2020 – Feb 2021) in Mutraw (Hpapun) and Kler Lwee Htu (Nyaunglaybin) Districts in Karen State, well over 5,000 people have been displaced due to Burmese Army attacks, in spite of a cease-fire agreement between the Burmese Army and the Karen National Union (KNU). The Burmese Army is using their old tactic of targeting civilians. While the Burmese Army continues to shell villages and sends reinforcements to the area, displaced people remain hiding in mountains and in the forests.

Voices of Ethnic People in Shan State about Gender Equality

by  Myanmar Institute for Integrated Development (MIID)

Take a visual journey through Myanmar’s South and East Shan State and hear what people living there say about gender equality. This photo exhibit is based on research by the Myanmar Institute for Integrated Development (MIID) and their local research partners. The team surveyed 280 households across seven ethnic groups, seeking to understand what factors influence women’s social, political and economic empowerment at the village level. Selected images and excerpts are highlighted in this special photo exhibit video, presented by the Myanmar Institute for Integrated Development, Canada’s International Research Development Centre and Asia Research News.

Exhibition: Myanmar in Lanna

by Myanmar Center, Faculty of Humanities, Chiang Mai University

Northern Thailand— also known as Lanna—has a long intertwined relationship with Myanmar dating from the pre-modern period. This is not only because they share a long border, but also because people have moved back and forth across state borders. Communities of people from Myanmar have grown up in and around Lanna. Myanmar culture were brought to and supported in Northern Thailand by both Myanmar descendants and new migrants. This exhibition illustrates a long history of Myanmar and Lanna through Buddhist monasteries and people. A large map shows the location of Buddhist monasteries recognized as “Myanmar style” in look and origin, while a video presentation depicts how Myanmar descendants and migrants settled in Chiang Mai.

Burmese Migrants & Covid-19

by Labor Protection Network

The second wave of Covid-19 in Thailand has heavily impact the lives of everyone, and especially migrant workers living in Samut Sakorn province, which reported the largest Covid-19 cluster in the country. When Samut Sakorn became a so-called “red zone,” the entire province was locked down, leaving many migrant workers with no job and no income. Many migrant workers suffered not just economic loss, but also impacts on their mental health. Many feel they can no longer support their families. The Labor Protection Network (LPN) has tried to tackle this issue with the “Hand to Hand” project to provide rapid support to migrant workers during the lockdown with food and sanitizing materials. This assistance can help migrant workers living in Samut Sakorn and many other provinces get through the pandamic. 

Covid-19: Kayan ‘Long Neck’ Refugees from Myanmar Struggle as Thailand Tourism Crashes

by Jittrapon Kaicome

They left their homeland decades ago and, for a time, found a future in Thailand’s tourism industry sector. But the pandemic has changed all that. Now many Kayan “long neck” women have lost their jobs, homes and dreams. Fleeing political unrest and violent clashes between the Myanmar military and ethnic minority armies in the 1980s, many Kayan fled from Karenni State, Myanmar and settled as refugees on the border of Mae Hong Son of northern Thailand. Since then many have been dependent upon tourism as a major source of their income. Their resettlement has introduced their distinctive Kayan culture to the region. Iconic images of Kayan women in traditional dress wearing neck rings have sparked domestic and foreign tourist interest, a lucrative attraction for the Thai tourism industry.

However, after the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in March 2020, travel was restricted and businesses closed across the kingdom. Big losses in the tourism industry have left many Kayan women with no income and some with no homes. As ethnic minority non-citizens, their options are limited. Moreover, social welfare and government subsidies during Covid-19 have stopped. Without visitors, they are living in limbo

Red Hope in Red Zone

by Visarut Sankham & REALFRAME

Samut Sakhon became known as a “red zone” of high risk during Thailand’s second wave of Covid in December 2020. Almost all businesses in Samut Sakhon were shut down under “lockdown” orders  to reduce the number of covid infections. While businesses were shut down, around 270,000 migrant workers who live in Samut Sakhon were heavily affected. Many lost their jobs and had to rely on savings to make ends meet. Now, some are in debt as their situation still has not improved. This photo essay is simply an attempt to look at what hopes keep them in Thailand during this hard time.

Dawei, Regional Connectivity & Development

by Dawei Studies Group

Peace & Conflict in the Salween River Basin

by International Rivers

The exhibition “Peace & Conflicts in Salween River Basin” demonstrates situations in the Salween River Basin, home to diverse ethnic groups in Eastern Burma. Over the past decades, the Salween River Basin has undergone armed conflicts in various ethnic states i.e. Shan, Kareni, Karen State. Ten of thousand people have been uprooted from their homeland. There has been local effort to preserve the Salween River, mainly largescale hydropower development. Recently, communities in Karen State successfully announced “Salween Peace Park” drawing on their culture and traditional knowledge to protect their ancestral lands.

Displaced and Trapped: Kachin Civilians Caught in the Crossfire, 2011 to Present

by Sakse

The situation for Kachin civilians is very dark. Few landowners have hope to return to their farms in a peaceful way. Their children—many born inside overcrowded refugee camps—feel trapped between war and the Chinese border. They have much less hope of return, and are looking for other opportunities, such as working as “domestic help” in China—often a code word for human trafficking.

Without serious concern and action from the Burmese government to allow international aid to these displaced civilians, there is little sign that this flow of human trafficking will stop, and many signs that it will continue, if not grow. Young children born in the camp will reach marriage age in just a few years. What options do children growing up in IDP camps have for their future?