Oobanken evolved from a situation of personal unsettlement while living in a country where significant changes to the environments of the social, economic and political landscape were imminent. Myanmar was emerging as if from a time capsule with a post-isolationist military regime still in power, holding keys to reform. As the country further opened to the outside, with embargoes lifted and sanctions eased, uncertainty about the future and yet unknown prospects were concerns quietly considered as my work progressed with Oobanken.
The title derives from the Japanized name for a Coucal, a large crow-like bird common to parts of South and Southeast Asia. The Oobanken is reclusive, but marks its presence with a distinctive call. It is haunting, and its reddish eyes could explain why for some societies the bird is associated with omens and the spiritual world.
With Oobanken I unlocked a way of engaging with a personal sense of continual displacement and the changing environment immediately beyond the walls of the secluded compound where I lived, constructed, photographed and which I also shared with an , my unseen companion.
The project was photographed in Yangon and completed in 2014.
Jerome Ming works with photography and utilizes aspects of sculpture, film-making and performance in his practice. Though born in London and currently based in Warsaw, Ming has lived in countries across Southeast Asia and in parts of Africa, where he grew up. Ming is of mixed descent (French, Chinese and Irish-South African) and attributes a life without fixed roots to partly influence the scope of work he presents.Ming studied Fine Art at the Trent Polytechnic in Nottingham (1989), Photojournalism at the London Institute (1994) and recently received his MFA in Photography from the University of Hartford (2014).Ming has shown work in a variety of places, mostly in Asia (including Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and China) and has participated in various collaborations and international residencies.