Once forgotten amongst the bustle of Southeast Asia, Myanmar is making its presence known on the global stage, for better or for worse. Its economy is growing on the foundation of oil and natural gas exports. Tourism is flourishing in this once closed military state. This growth is reflected in the day-to-day lives of the Burmese, as the heavy hand of government lifts ever so slowly. Vibrant colors pervade their work and their worship. Yet, behind the warm and welcoming Burmese culture lurks a painful story of oppression of the Rohingya Muslim minority. This series focuses on the peaceful, daily lives of the Burmese that stands in stark contrast to the unspeakable violence in the west of the country.
The second half of this exhibit is comprised of photographs from Southern California. One of the largest economies in the world, California is often characterized by LA’s glitz or the Bay Area’s innovation. But in this forgotten corner of the state, off Route 66, between Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Park, lies the remnants of early- and mid-century economic growth. In the 1930’s the federal government sold inexpensive parcels of land to encourage home ownership. Chasing the American dream, thousands purchased land and built small homes. When Route 66 opened around the same time, the town of Amboy was built as a stop along the way with a gas station, motel, school, and church. The town grew until the 1970’s, when I-40 opened, bypassing Amboy all together. The remaining residents were left with a struggling economy, limited infrastructure, and the punishing desert climate.
Worlds apart, a forgotten country surges, while one of the world’s wealthiest economies hides forgotten corners of decay.