Patterns of resilience
Thailand is home to around 5,000 urban refugees and asylum seekers from over 51 countries. Many, such as Sara*, from Pakistan, left their home countries to escape religious persecution. "When I was 15, my mother’s name was announced in our town as a target of violence,” she says. “She was a teacher and they accused her of converting children to Christianity. The same day, we went into hiding for three months. After that, we fled to Thailand." Monica, also from Pakistan, shares a similar story. Her father is a Christian bishop, and after word got out that he had baptised some members of the Muslim community, Monica’s entire family was forced to flee. “We started receiving threats,” she says. “We tried to escape to different regions but eventually had to leave the country altogether.”
This portrait series aims to tell the stories of refugee women in Bangkok using a collaborative approach. It is the result of a collaboration between myself and four anonymous refugee women from Pakistan and Sri Lanka, who sell their henna-painted products with the support of the non-profit Asylum Access Thailand. The original photographs were printed on paper, then painted on by each of the women portrayed in the portraits.
The project has been exhibited in Bangkok and published by the Migrant Women's Press.