THE KAREN IN AKRON, OHIO
Some of the images are from the archive of the Karen Community of Akron's Chairman, Ajino Wah, who has photos from his time in the refugee camps overseas as well from his visit back to the remnants of the refugee camp that he grew up in.
The caption for one of Ajino’s albums is aptly titled: "Homeland picture: This is a Country,Town,village and land when I was a little kid but not like as before, everything is change till I couldn't recognized anything at all"
Being out here, speaking with community members, and thinking about the fraught category of "Asian American", obfuscation appears closer to what's on the ground.
It is a fight to preserve let alone define who they are. Especially for a working class community trying to survive the pandemic, there is no incentive as a community to remember or communicate who they are.
I am uncomfortable with the descriptive mode of documentary photography of literally presenting a legible image of otherness for an audience's consumption. These pieces represent a period of uncertainty in which it's unclear the ways in which culture itself is changing for this community. What is retained over time? What is lost for good? It's a crossfade.