OD Photo Prize 2023 | Shortlisted Artists
Kin Coedel [b. 1987] is a photographer from Hong Kong who grew up in Canada. Upon finishing a fine art degree in painting, Kin worked as a womenswear designer in London for five years while indulging in photography as a hobby.
Artist Statement | “DYAL THAK, in Tibetan means mutual ties, connection or “a common thread”. This series was created in 2021 on the Tibetan plateau and surrounding Tibetan Autonomous Regions.
The plateau, some call it ‘The Roof of the World,’ is extremely widespread; for centuries, many different tribes of Tibetan nomads have lived-off the animals which inhabit it. Before the 1960s, its inhabitants have always had a simple way of living, aligned and balanced by the cycle of nature. Yet, economic and social changes brought about by the cultural revolution, policies and development, have eroded this sustainable way of life. A new market-driven economy created new demands beyond what farming and cattle-raising could fulfill, the traditional way of living was becoming hopeless for many Tibetans, a bridge had to be built to connect them to the modern economy.
Given its unique revolutionary history and geographic location, Tibet is a region, despite its rich resources and vast nature, essentially isolated from other countries. During the pandemic, when many parts of the world were feeling despondent, arriving in Tibet was a breath of fresh air. 3200 meters above sea level, it was seemingly untouched by the chaos of contemporary life: picturesque landscapes, free-roaming animals, and beautiful Buddhist temples; the communities were optimistic and harmonious, and the modest way of living was in comparison, to the world-at-large, more promising and hopeful.
Many of these images were taken in the village of Ritoma, a tight-knit community of majority-led craftswomen. Many of them are generational weavers, yarn-spinners, wool-felters, and have, since the 90s, used what mother nature had to offer them – yak khullu, and built a village-based industry. Now minority ethnic Tibetans are striving for equal opportunity to Han Chinese, while keeping the yak-wool-textile-making traditional, conserving the respectful way of living with the land, and building a sustainable future for generations to come.” — Kin Coedel
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