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KC Ortiz – “The Golden Land”

Guerrero Gallery is pleased to announce The Golden Land, a collection of photographs by KC Ortiz.  This collection consists of imagery from Ortiz’s long term and ongoing project on the troubled nation of Burma, which he has been shooting since 2009.

The Golden Land focuses on the people and places outside of the daily headlines, unseen by most.  Ortiz’s photos bring viewers to the frontline of the “Badlands”, the world’s longest ongoing conflict between the Burmese military junta and Karen rebels, and to the Bangladesh-Burma border where exiled Rohingya refugees are struggling to survive.  His photos also depict the daily life of the Burmese and ethnic peoples of Burma, capturing the hopes and struggles of the divided nation.

Last year, KC Ortiz exhibited with Guerrero Gallery and with Known Gallery in Los Angeles.  He has also shown at The Frontline Club in London, and at Art Basal Miami.  His work has appeared in publications such as Juxtapoz, The Global Post, The Independent, The New York Times, and Time.  Most recently, he won a first place award in the Pictures of the Year International (POYi) contest. KC Ortiz is a photojournalist with a split base between his hometown of Chicago and Western Thailand.

To download a .PDF of the show press release click here.


Golden Land 1 –     Saw Wizana, aka “Rambo”, a famous monk within in the Karen community makes a speech on Martyr’s Day. While the monks of the Safron Revolution staged non-violent protests, others such as Saw Wizana insist that violent resistance is the only viable strategy against the junta. He himself was a political prisoner for four years.

Golden Land 2 –    Pro democracy icon and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi stands for a portrait in her office at NLD headquarters a week after her release from house arrest.

Golden Land 3  –   Street scene in Yangon, Burma

Golden Land 4  –  Free Burma Rangers (FBR) and Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) fighters on the front line in Karen state.  The Karen ethnic group, led by the Karen National Union (KNU) and it’s armed wing KNLA have been at war with the Burmese central government for over 60 years.  It is the world’s longest ongoing conflict.

Golden Land 5 –   KNLA 5th Brigade fighters on a recon mission within the jungles of northern Karen State, Burma.

Golden Land 6 –   On the frontline of the KNLA’s war with the SPDC, members of the 5th Brigade take aim and monitor the movements of the SPDC’s base.

Golden Land 7      A Rohingya child takes shelter from the rain in Kutapalong refugee camp under a traditional longyi. The rainy season produces dangerous living conditions as sewage mixes with trash and flows through out the camp.

Golden Land 8  –  A Rohingya woman holds a baby as the rain fast aproaches Kutupalong unofficial refugee camp.

Golden Land 9   – Woman and children wait at the Muslim Aid hospital in Leida refugee camp. Malnutrition, diarrhea, malaria, TB, and STD’s run rampant within the camps.

(The Rohingya are a small muslim minority in western Burma that are extremely oppressed.  They are not recgonzied as citizens in Burma or in Bangladesh when they flee there. They are not allowed to marry, own land, conduct business, have children, etc.  One of the most persecuted groups in the world.)

Golden Land 10  Demcratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) breakaway faction 5th Brigade soldiers patrol their area of control in Karen State, Burma.

Golden Land 11  A young DKBA 5th Brigade fighter at the group’s temporary headquarters in Karen State, Burma. The 5th Brigade is the last DKBA (Democratic Karen Burmese Army) holdout to the SPDC’s border guard demands. Their refusal to join the SPDC’s BGF has united the various Karen group’s, creating a untiy that has been absent for most of the revolutions recent history.

Golden Land 12  – A KNLA soldier takes a coffee break while patroling the village of Oo Kray Kee, Karen State, Burma.

Golden Land 13  – A KNLA 6th Brigade fighter in Karen State, Burma with a hand done full back tattoo “The Great Nation” refering to the hopes of an independent Karen nation.

Golden Land 14  – A young refugee from Burma works in a landfill outside of Mae Sot, Thailand, an infamous border town.  Over 200 migrants from Burma live and work within the landfill under apalling conditions.

Golden Land 15  – A young Burmese gril returns from the fields in Tuk Town, a predominately Burmese neighborhood in Mae Sot, Thailand.

Golden Land 16 – General Baw Kyaw of the KNLA 5th Brigade watches SPDC soldiers in their base through his scope.  The General is among the front runners to one day lead the Karen people.