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Gerry Yaum | Forgotten Laughter: Children of the Dump

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On display in the Project Room
Gerry Yaum
Living in the Margins: Families of the Dump



"The Mae Sot Project" Artist Statement

"As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest."
Nelson Mandela

The Mae Sot Project ("Families of the Dump") documentary photography series was made at the Mae Sot, Thailand garbage dump. At the dump approximately 400 people in 50 plus family groups live and work scavenging for recyclable goods. The families are made up of Burmese refugees mostly from the Karen ethnic tribe; who travelled illegally from Burma into Thailand. In Burma these people face political persecution and economic hardship, they came to Thailand hoping for a better life.

I make my photographs in the dump and elsewhere for one reason, to tell the stories of forgotten people. It is important that their stories are told, with dignity and compassion. My goal is to show the common humanity we all share.

Children Of The Dump
Flies buzzing in the sunshine
Garbage and long toil
Giggles with quick laughter
Playing with barking dogs
Broken glass and sweet hugs
Found food but lost school
Stomach worms and stinking waste
Rats running with the rice
Yet new hope and new life
Children of the dump.

Please help the children and families of the dump by donating to:

Social documentary photographer Gerry Yaum seeks to tell the stories of forgotten and marginalised people. His deeply personal series My Father's Last Days documents the final months of his father's battle with pancreatic cancer. Through a sequence of poignant black and white portraits, Yaum endeavours to understand and capture his father's struggle and create a memorial to him.

Later Event: September 21
Annual Mental Health Exhibition