East Asia, Southeast Asia, Dr. David Chu Program in Asia-Pacific Studies, Asian Institute

Celebrating the 2024 Imaging the Asia Pacific Photo and Video Competition Winners

A line of ambulances on the runway of a landed flight in Beijing Capital Airport.

Ran Deng
First Prize: “In(transit)”

Doctor of Philosophy - Centre for Comparative Literature, Collaborative Specializations (Ph.D.) in Sexual Diversity Studies and Women & Gender Studies

I felt compelled to record this moment as I transited through the Beijing Capital Airport in September 2021, after the government-organized flight landed at sunrise, and shortly before I was taken to a nearby city for the mandated two-week quarantine. As a transnational student, I felt alienated by the lined-up ambulances that barred me from entering the city I grew up in. The title “In(transit)” both reflects my literal experience of border-crossing during the pandemic and points to the sense of immobility and disorientation that many have experienced as Asian migrant students and, more broadly, as surveilled citizens.

Two lawn workers in the Temple of Heaven park in Beijing, China during summertime.

Rachel Lin

Second Prize: "Yard Work"

Bachelor of Commerce, Specialist in Management, Minor in Music History & Culture and Economics 

Taken in the Temple of Heaven park in Beijing, China during summertime 2023. I personally love the rich colours of this photo and the lines produced with the wall and two lawn workers. The wall, with bamboo-inspired green eaves, seen in the back is an example of the traditional Chinese architecture seen in the park. The photo offers an interesting contrast between the history and cultural heritage of the Temple of Heaven from the 15th century, to the efforts needed all these centuries later to preserve this landmark.

A boat in the foreground of a large rocky landscape.

Minahil Syed

Third Prize: "Boat Centre” 

Honours Bachelor of Arts, Major in Political Science, Minor in Philosophy and Contemporary Asian Studies 

In the captivating serenity of Musandam lies a profound sense of timelessness - a landscape seemingly locked in a tranquil continuity that transcends the passage of years. Here, amidst the jagged cliffs and azure waters, the pace of life unfolds with a gentle rhythm, as if guided by the silent call to tradition and heritage. 

Amidst this idyllic tableau, the daily rituals of life unfold with a sense of quiet purpose. Women walk with their children to school, their fervent pace and quick kisses goodbye echoing the steadfastness of Musandam's essence; goats continue grazing on the remaining patches of grass on rocky outcrops. Men gather at local coffee shops, savoring moments of camaraderie and conversation amidst the quiet of their surroundings.

On a whim, I decided to travel to Oman for two days while visiting family in Dubai. In contrast to the bustling energy of Dubai, Musandam exudes a sense of stillness - one that speaks to the maritime past so integral to Oman's cultural identity. In Musandam, where boats serve as the lifeblood of coastal communities, there are areas accessible only by these maritime vessels - a testament to their indispensable role in contemporary life and their central importance to local mobility, economy, and daily existence. Where the mountains meet the sea, the enduring presence of boats underscores the inseparable connection between land and water, tradition and modernity. Silent witnesses to the passage of time, the boats remaining perched ashore allow onlookers to find a profound sense of connection to the maritime heritage that has shaped Oman's identity for centuries.