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Salamat Datang: Welcome to Malaysia
May 17, 2018 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
From his early days of touring with musicians, to more recent times shooting for newspapers, being a documentarian is at the heart of what Dennis Ho does. Before fine art found its way there, and before stylized fashion became a thing, documenting was photography’s first and most enduring purpose – a purpose Dennis has also embraced.
Dennis Ho spent June and July of 2017 traveling throughout Southeast Asia. It was his first time there as an adult, but the title Welcome to Malaysia is less about his experience and more about the immigrants and human trafficking survivors he encountered who have settled on the west coast of the country.
When you think of Malaysia, you probably envision relaxing beaches, lush rainforests and a cultural blend of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European influences. For some, it is an escape to greater economic opportunities. However, immigrants are not always met with economic prosperity. Some find themselves in debt to recruiters or must settle for jobs that pay less than the ones they were promised, making them vulnerable to trafficking.
There are many visual cues at work here. Asian ethnicities, sparse and barren rooms that serve as homes, and ongoing reminders that Malaysia is predominantly Islamic.
It was new territory for Dennis as a documentarian, and for many Westerners he suspects it will be, too. If it is, he’s glad.
Welcome to Malaysia.