I made this photograph, “Tapestry, Burma 2020,” in early February before the pandemic changed all of our lives. Returning to a small, fishing village in Burma/Myanmar, I reconnected with many of the people I have made portraits of over the years. I have continued to be drawn to the stark, minimal setting of the Irrawaddy River, a place that changes dramatically with every season, and is the work and social environment for those who live on its shore. The hand-woven mats are traditionally used as floor or wall coverings in the home and are sometimes brought outside to sit upon, but one late afternoon we took them out on the fishing boat for this portrait.
Monica Denevan studied photography at San Francisco State University. Her ongoing series, “Songs of the River: Portraits from Burma,” began in 2000. She works with a medium-format film camera, using natural light, and making composed images. Once home, she prints in her traditional darkroom. Denevan’s photographs have been exhibited internationally including solo shows at Scott Nichols Gallery (Sonoma, CA), Duncan Miller Gallery (Santa Monica, CA), Tao Gallery (Hong Kong), and Serindia Gallery Annex (Bangkok). In 2020, she was one of 25 artists included in Photo-Eye Gallery’s (Santa Fe, NM) first-ever juried exhibition. She was a Photolucida Critical Mass Top 50 finalist in 2019 and 2012. In 2016, ten of Denevan’s images were published in a book of Lao photographs published by Nazraeli Press and Friends Without a Border in NY. She is the 2020 All About Photo first place award recipient. Monica Denevan is represented by Scott Nichols Gallery (Sonoma, CA), Capital Culture Gallery (Norfolk, UK), and Open House Bookshop (Bangkok). She lives and works in San Francisco.