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Cristian Geelen : People of Myanmar : The Kayan and Kayah…


The Kayen and the Kayah…

Two groups of people live in the south-east of Myanmar. Formally known as Burma. Living in the rich mountainous landscapes full of teak and minerals.

Together with a lot of other subgroups they are named the Karenni…

It feels like time has stood still. A story that you would normally only read in books about stories of old.

But it is all real, and stills exists…

Myanmar though, is a country in rapid development and that also means fast changes. The purpose of this project is to have a documentation of what is happening right now before globalization hits the country in such a way we might not have a visual imagery of how one of their many cultures once was.

Also the tribes don’t have any real written history of themselves. And a lot of history of them is already lost.

The calling of my soul brings me to beautiful places like these. I am so curious why… I just have to go… I just have to… It is the only way to find out…

Like many parts in Myanmar there was conflict and civil war. And so there was in the Kayah state.

What also played part is that during the colonial rule it was a part of the Shan state. And the British government had agreed to their independence. So that means they were never part of British Burma.

In the 1980’s and early 90’s there was conflict between the military regime in Myanmar and the rebel forces. Which resulted in that a part of the tribes fled to Thailand and ended up in refugee camps. The members that are now located in Thailand depend on tourism to make a living

The people you see here are the original Kayen and Kayah people. And during all this time they have kept most of their ways.


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