Curated by: Matt Grace
2011 brought about the end of an era in Myanmar. For the first time in almost five decades the country was no longer governed by one of the most repressive military regimes of modern times. Although many will argue that the country did not experience a freely elected government until the National League for Democracy (NLD) swept to power five years later, it is clear that the quasi-civilian administration of former-general U Thein Sein initiated the current period of upheaval affecting Myanmar’s political, economic and social landscapes. It also began the slow dismantling of the country’s pervasive and all-encompassing system of censorship – a system that had stifled generations of artists, writers, and photographers. Myanmar’s media is far from free, but there is now the opportunity for photographers to explore issues that until recently could only be discussed in hushed tones in the company of trusted confidantes, and to earn a living doing something that would have earned them a jail sentence under the junta.
Presented by: Tasneem Aslultan
Since 2010, from popular uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Syria, to protests and strikes throughout Turkey in 2013, the Middle East has experienced a major geopolitical shift which has affected peace and stability in the region. The photographers are experienced witnesses and narrators of resistance and social change.
Many observers hoped this “Arab Spring” would result in a period of political and social reform, where more democratic and open societies could develop. Indeed several authoritarian leaders were removed from power, such as Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, or at least challenged including Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. But in the months and years following what was popularly called the “Arab Spring” it is apparent that human rights are still under attack across the region and the Syrian conflict has created the largest refugee crisis of the 21st century.
We Do Not Choose Our Own Dictators presents a selection of photographic works by RAWIYA that respond to and reflect the daily lives of people affected by political upheaval in the Middle East. In attempting to negotiate, document and understand a swiftly changing social landscape the photographers present new ways of seeing and recontextualize what might be regarded as older or established means of critique. Often their investigations employ humor and irony, while at other times their work is emotive and controversial. Collectively their photographs reveal subtleties of contemporary life in the Middle East that are surprising and life-affirming
Curated by: Ekkarat Punyatara
I believe that photography is where photographers unconsciously express their t innermost dreams. A good photograph may even make the unconscious dream.
I’ve always been fascinated by how photographs have been used. Photojournalists use photos to tell a story of something. NGOs use photography to raise awarenesses on some issues. Marketing and advertising use one to sell products. These selected works are gathered and filled dreams. Some works may tell you photographers’ dream. Some works might sell you a dream.