I recently discovered a kickstarted campaign that recently met its crowdsourced funding to publish a book containing photographs taken by Tibetan refugees living in Nepal. Mikel Dunham, an acclaimed author who frequently investigates and writes about the situation of tibetan diaspora living in exile decided to give 10 inexpensive digital cameras to young tibetan refugees living in camps in nepal. Since majority of the Tibetans that escape their homeland in order to be closer to the Dalai Lama first make their way as refugees in Nepal before heading to India. Since the pressure by the Chinese is ever increasing on the Nepalese government, Nepal now has imposed sanctions on tibetans flee from Tibet so much so as to not allow them to publicly celebrate the birthday of Dalai Lama, own businesses or even any kind of property. This in turn has led to widespread poverty in these refugee camps where even the basic rights such as registration of new borns and marriages have even been denied to exiled tibetans.
According to Dunham, he wanted the tibetans themselves to document the plight of their community and the increasing encroachment of their basic rights by the Nepalese government. Despite the fact that a lot of westerners visit these places, their photographs seem to romanticize the culture and and deem it as exotic whilst not really examining the present adversity the community faces everyday. Though the photographs are not as beautiful to look at, they still serve as an important piece of evidence in a long struggle for freedom. By empowering the community to document their own stories, Dunham gives us a significant perspective that is lacking in the documentation of the Tibetan Struggle. The project can be found here.
Welcome to the Community Collaborations Resource Blog
Future Imagemakers / Community Collaborations is a participatory photography project in the Department of Photography & Imaging offering free digital photography classes to high school students and at the same time offering teaching training and experience to NYU students interested in teaching and working in community-based art settings. This blog is forum for looking at art as an expanded practice with links to community-based arts programs, activist projects, readings, curricular ideas, and more.
Lorie Novak, Director
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