Photographer KC Ortiz has a new exhibition at the Known Gallery in LA entitled "Forced Rebellion." "Forced Rebellion" is a collection of photos Ortiz shot during his recent stay in the Hmong jungle in Laos.
In the 1960s, the CIA recruited the Hmong people to fight the Communist forces on America's behalf during the Vietnam War in what is known as the "Secret War." During that time, the Hmong became known as some of the best guerrilla fighters in the world. When the US withdrew its forces in the region, it left many of the Hmong to fend for themselves. Many attempted to flee to Thailand as refugees, but thousands were killed by Vietnamese and Lao forces during that journey. Some returned to their villages to suffer death and prison sentences, while many fled to the remote mountains to escape. Today, some 5,000 Hmong veterans of the CIA's Secret War remain hiding in those mountains, along with their descendants, still defending themselves against Lao and Vietnamese forces. More recently, the Lao government has asked the Thai government to deport more than 4,000 Hmong refugees back to Laos, which worries many of the refugees.
Ortiz's work captures the Hmong people in their daily lives, as they struggle to make it through each day.
His work is on display at Los Angeles' Known Gallery until June 12:
Forced Rebellion by KC Ortiz
441 North Fairfax Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036
May 22, 2010 - June 12, 2010
Wednesday through Saturday: 11am - 7pm
Sunday: noon - 6pm
For more information on Ortiz and his other work, click here.