Eye On Texas: Strangers In a New Land


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Husband and wife Or Or and Paw Htoo Raw, along with their sons Bi-sen To, Eh Thamee, and Kayler, are members of the Karen ethnicity, a minority group in Myanmar. They were forced from their home in 1997 and found sanctuary for almost a decade in refugee camps in Thailand before relocating to Decatur, Georgia, in 2006, and to Austin in 2009.

I started photographing the Htoo family in 2010 for a class project at the University of Texas. As a child of immigrants, I wanted to document how Asian families assimilate in the U.S.

The Htoo sons are now fluent in English, and their parents work full time. The apartment complex where they live is full of immigrant families from Myanmar, Nepal and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

I hope to continue photographing the family until the boys graduate from high school in four years.

See more of Texas photographer Lizzie Chen’s work at lizziechen.com.

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