Photo Event Report from Asia: The 8th Yangon Photo Festival

By Makoto Shibata (Photo Journalist/Japan)

Eyewitness: Myanmar by local photographers. Under the patronage of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Yangon Photo Festival has become one of the main international yearly events in the country

Christophe Loviny, Artistic Director

The 8th Yangon Photo Festival (YPF) was held from March 12th to 31st. Ten photo exhibitions were held at the Institut Français de Birmanie and the galleries in Yangon. The theme was “Eyewitness: Myanmar by Myanmar Photographers”. At the dawn of what all hope to be a new era for Myanmar, the 8th YPF gave the best Myanmar photographers free rein to show the challenges confronting their country through 15 exhibitions and tens of screenings organized at IFB, Goethe Institut, Pansuria Gallery, River Gallery and Myanmar Deitta.

The photo exhibition of 50th Anniversary of Gamma Agency, The Price of Jade by Minzayar Oo, Give Peace a chance – Group Exhibition, and World Press Photo 15 were held at one of the main venues, the Institut Français de Birmanie. On 19th March, Yangon Photo Night was held at the Institut Français de Birmanie.

YPF and its affiliated training programs were founded in 2008 by the Institut Français de Birmanie. Eight years later, as the country started a new chapter in its history, YPF has trained more than five hundred photographers, who document this transition through powerful photo-stories about important social, cultural and environmental issues.

“Give Peace a chance – Group Exhibition”
In a way Myanmar is a place where the Second World War never really stopped. Ending the longest civil war on the planet will be a priority for the new government. Soe Zeya Tun, Reuters photographer and YPF multi-award winner, shines a light on the Karen landline victims and brings us, with EPA photographer Lynn Bo Bo, to the war-torn Kokang region; 19-year-old Kachin photographer Hkun Latt and his brother Hkun Li describe how rich natural resources are a curse for their people. Htoo Tay Za was able to photograph the last 1988 students still training for guerilla warfare. Mai Ah Nwai and J Paing introduce the efforts of the Ta’aung Army trying to eradicate drugs at the Chinese border.

50th Anniversary of Gamma Agency
The 50th anniversary exhibition of GAMMA, the prestigious photo agency associated with so many famous photo-journalists was held at Institut Français de Birmanie. Gamma is a photography agency founded in 1966 in Paris. Since its creation, it has showcased the work of the biggest names in photojournalism. Their photographs are part of the collective consciousness of humanity: Gilles Caron, Raymond Depardon, Jean-Claude Francolon, Françoise Demulder, Sebastião Salgado, David Burnett, Abbas, Reza, Georges Mérillon, Michel Laurent, François Lochon, Raphaël Gaillarde, Éric Bouvet, Laurent Van der Stockt, Noël Quidu, etc.

Conference at Institut Français de Birmanie
Photo Exhibition

The first World Press Photo exhibition held in Myanmar. The exhibition was running untill March 31 at Institut Français de Birmanie. Every year, WPP celebrates the best press photography. The winners are then exhibited in more than 40 countries around the globe.

Yangon Photo Night
Myanmar photographers’ works were screened in the garden of the Institut Français de Birmanie in front of the public. They competed for the Best Photo-Story Awards of the Year. Prizes such as professional Canon cameras, photo workshops and exhibitions in France, Amsterdam and Brussels will be awarded by a jury of international photo personalities such as Hossein Farmani (Lucie Awards), Hans Silvester and Floris de Bonneville (Gamma).

The Yangon Photo Night awarded the best photo stories made by Myanmar photographers.
Here is the list of the winners:
■Emerging Photographers
1st Prize: Mi Lyah Rot, Mi Seik Chan “Monsoon Plastic Collector”
2nd Prize: Chanson « A long life Already”
3rd Prize: Zaw Zaw Htwe « The Sound of My Pain”
4th Prize: Pyae Phyo Hein « The Street of Great Merit »
5th Prize: Phoe Loe Ki « Champion »
■Professional Photographers
1st Prize: Minzayar « The Curse of Jade”
2nd Prize: Soe Seya Tun « The Desperate Thirst”
3rd Prize: Jpaing « The Convoy »
4th Prize: Hkun Li « Silent Lives »
Special Prize of the Jury:
Saw Wee « Our Fiona”

They will verify historical facts and have strong expectations for the future. I felt it from many exhibited photos. In Myanmar, the new government is inaugurated from April 1st. In many photo exhibitions local photographers send a strong message for the next generation.

All their photo-essays will be competed at the Yangon Photo Night. Among other prizes, two photographers will travel to France to the world’s biggest international photo festivals.

8th Yangon Photo Festival*The festival is free and open to everyone
Exhibitions : 12 – 31 March, 2016
Events: 12 – 19 March
Workshops : From January 22 to February 29.
Yangon Photo Awards Night: 19 March, 2016, 6.30 p.m.
・Institut Français de Birmanie | 340 Pyay Road, Sanchaun Tsp, Yangon
・Goethe Villa | No 8 Ko Min Ko Chin Road, Bahan Tsp, Yangon
・Myanmar Deitta | No 49, 44th Street, Yangon
・Pansuriya Gallery | No 100 Bogalayzay Street, Yangon
・River Gallery | 33/35, 37th and 38th Street, Yangon

For more information

Makoto Shibata

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