A Woman’s Place: Life Through the Lens of Myanmar’s Women Farmers

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Workshop in Kalay Myo, Myanmar.

The project provided basic photography trainings to groups of women farmers. This work including training rural women in visual literacy and basic camera skills. The women then used these new skills to create visual stories of their local areas to share with the rest of the group. The photos were accompanied by oral narrative and short captions or texts.

The photos featured in the exhibition were taken in Sagaing, Tanithayri Regions and Karen State by 19 women farmers, following basic photography training. Participatory photography was used to give a voice to participants, without the normal barriers of public speaking or reading and writing.

Most images of rural Myanmar are taken by people who live outside of these areas. This participatory photography exhibition offers the chance to see rural life through the eyes of women who live on and work its agricultural land. This diverse range of images offers a glimpse into the communities, livelihoods, social issues and changes which frame being a woman farmer in Myanmar today.

 

Photo workshop and taking photos around village areas.

After working in groups in village areas, some of the photos were then selected for an exhibition in Yangon. Some women came to Yangon to display their photos and to tell their stories to the media and general public.

Working together to prepare an exhibition space

 

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Sharing stories with media and the gender public.

While the photos are diverse and personal, key themes appeared across the images. Gendered agricultural activities featured prominently, as did details of local beliefs which limit womenโ€™s behaviour, such as the sea and mine nats in Dawei which prevent women from participating in sea fishing and underground mining. Education was also important – many women took pictures of schools and their children in school uniform. Water sources and other infrastructure such as bridges and roads also featured in images of wells, water storage and buckets as well as discussions of water conservation. Religion also played a prominent role in all of the sites: Christian women taking photos of prayer groups and Buddhist women including images of shrines and pagodas. Pictures of family members were also in many of the womenโ€™s photos. Yet, while there were many images of mothers and children – not one participant took a picture of their husband.

See an online version of the exhibition here:A Woman’s Place

Client: Land Core Group Myanmar

Photographs on this page by Catriona Knapman

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