In February 2012, Documentary Arts Asia hosted the first Chiang Mai Documentary Arts Festival. CDAF'12 is an annual festival bringing together documentary photographers and filmmakers in northern Thailand and presented nine photo exhibitions, three days of workshops and three nights of film screenings showcasing work from some of the finest documentary artists working in Asia. In collaboration with DEVELOP Photo the three day event is now accessible online.
Documentary Arts Asia is a non-profit organization which works primarily in photography and film, but also audio and narrative writing, to tell the stories from Asia that need to be heard.
Can't Make It Home - The Borei Keila Land Grab by Sitthixay Ditthavong: A large number of my friends are increasingly preoccupied with buying houses or having kids. Some are better at one task than the other, but the numbers steadily grow. House. Baby. Baby. House. One day we’ll leave this house to our baby. Maybe if we buy and sell enough houses, we’ll be able to buy more houses.
I know that not everyone is this lucky. I know this because in January 2012, a team of over 100 police and security guards from the development company Phanimex demolished more than 200 homes in Phnom Penh’s Borei Keila community in a brazen act of land grabbing with the approval of the Cambodian Government.
Despite failing to fulfil a 2003 agreement to provide sufficient alternative housing for the residents, the company then forcibly moved them to Phnom Bat, Oudong, some 45 kilometres away from the city. Tears erupted when they arrived to discover that they were being dumped on a patch of land with no clean water, electricity or sanitation. Back in Phnom Penh, policemen used tear gas and rocks to quell residents who managed to stay behind to protest. Thirty-eight people were ultimately locked up in unlawful detention.
On the same day that the Borei Keila residents were unceremoniously trucked in and dumped at Oudong to fend for themselves, an enterprising local family set up a stall on the site to sell food and supplies to the newly homeless. I wonder when our appetite for profiteering from the vulnerable will be sated.
Sitthixay [Sit-uh-say] Ditthavong studied photography at the Sydney Institute of Technology and marine biology at James Cook University before starting a career as an Australian diplomat, where he developed expertise covering political and economic developments in Asia, the South Pacific, and the Middle East. He returned to study a Master of Visual Arts (Photojournalism) at the Queensland College of Art and was a finalist from over 9,000 entries in Asian Geographic's Asia Without Borders photo contest. The 2012 Artist in Residence at Documentary Arts Asia in Chiang Mai, Thailand, he is currently undertaking a Global Internship with the Associated Press' Chicago Bureau.
He has exhibited both locally and abroad, and his work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian,The Huffington Post, ABC News, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, The Denver Post,The Australian, The Australian Financial Review, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe's Big Picture, Sports Illustrated, The Houston Chronicle, Des Moines Register, CBS News, Washington Times, USA Today, ESPN, Queensland's Courier Mail, The Sunday Mail, Timemachine Magazine, and The Argus. Sitthixay was an official photographer for the 2011 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
This video is part of the DEVELOP Tube Channel which can be found at vimeo.com/channels/developphoto. DEVELOP Tube is an educational resource which features interviews, profiles, lectures & films about photojournalism, fine art photography & documentary photography.
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