The emotional distress from the ongoing genocide of the Rohingya people has been captured in a photographic exhibition launched in Sydney.
The Rohingya are a stateless minority living in Myanmar, however, ongoing persecution has forced over half a million Rohingya to seek refuge in Bangladesh.
Australian photographer Alister McKeich who goes by the name Ali MC, showcased his social justice photographs at the Western Sydney University, Bankstown campus in the exhibition titled Rohingya: Refugee Crisis in Colour.
“Many children have been abused by the Myanmar military, by the government and by the police and it’s happening in Australia’s backyard,” McKeich said.
He said that when he travelled to Myanmar two years ago, he was not aware of the extent to which the Rohingya were affected.
“The people who they should be able to turn to in a time of crisis were the people who were persecuting them," McKeich said.
“I wanted an exhibition in Australia because we [Australians] have a moral obligation to help the Rohingya people.”
We do not want anyone to forget what happened to the Rohingya . . . tweet sanctions, protest, seize the military and take a stand.
Burmese Rohingya Community in Australia (BRCA) member Ahsan Ul Haque said awareness was a step towards acknowledgment for the democratic rights of the Rohingya people.
“The Australian government have the opportunity to do something about it,” Ul Haque said.
“But we [Ul Haque and BRCA members] are redirecting our focus to fixing the issues we have back home."
“We want acknowledgement from our government that what happened was wrong and we need the Australian community to take a stand.”
A member of the Dean’s Unit School of Social Sciences and Psychology, Professor Linda Briskman said that being one of the first people in Sydney to view the artworks was "deeply moving".
“These magnificent photographs are making people aware of the situation [the genocide of the Rohingya],” Prof Briskman said.
“I was bewildered that people who have suffered so much cannot have a place in this wealthy and vast land of ours.”
Ul Haque said: "We do not want anyone to forget what happened to the Rohingya . . . tweet sanctions, protest, seize the military and take a stand."
The exhibition is in the Margot Hardy Gallery (Building 23), corner of Bullecourt and Horsley Road, Bankstown and runs until June 29.