In 2013, there were the beginnings of hope in some parts of Myanmar. You could sense that some were starting to breathe just a bit easier.
Since 1962, Myanmar has been a military dictatorship immersed in war, genocide, and ethnic conflict. The military closed off Myanmar from the world and controlled every aspect of life. After Aung San Suu Kyi was freed from house arrest in 2010, things began to change. Myanmar opened to the world in 2012.
In 2013 I visited and saw that parts of central Myanmar had new freedoms. Cellphones were prevalent, and the kids were absorbing everything they could from the web. The kids were creatively combining every influence. They mixed Myanmar’s traditional thanaka face paint with modernity. Mashups of style and music didn’t pay attention to outsider’s rules and saw goth kids listened to happy pop. I was inspired because I knew - the kids are alright - and amazing.
In February of 2021 the military junta again seized power in a coup. Massive peaceful protests were brutally put down and un-armed civilians were slaughtered in cold blood. The People's Defense Armed Forces (PDF) was created to be the armed wing of the National Unity Government. Many joined the war against the military. More than a year after the coup, Myanmar is still immersed in a war that the rest of the world pays little attention to.
Ten years after these photos were taken of these marvelous kids, I wonder where they are now. In this series, diptychs juxtapose 2013 images with 2023 words from contemporary resistance fighters and news articles.
With this series, I aim to give a voice back to those who had so many dreams.
These 2013 pre-coup photos taken in Myanmar are randomly combined with 2023 post-coup text posted by contemporary resistance fighters.