About – History – FAQ

Photo of first Documentary Arts Asia workshop in Dec 2008 – Laiza -Kachin State – Burma


Documentary Arts Asia is a non profit organization focused on training, mentoring & supporting documentary photographers & film-makers to tell stories from across Asia that need to be heard.

We provide exhibitions, awards, workshops and access to funding & matertials so that documentary artists have worldclass backing & support for them to develop & actualize their potential as leading story tellers within the region & beyond.

The success of DocArtsAsia’s allumni can be attributed to our commitment to following up with participants & continued support throughout their developing careers.

Our vision is to allow Asian stories to be told by local people, allowing them to construct & control their own narratives, as they see fit.

Documentary Arts Asia is under the umbrella of Sulak Sivaraksa’s Sathirakoses-Nagapradeepa Foundation (SNF), one of the most established, active and respected foundations native to Southeast Asia. This relationship gives DAA a broad network to synergize with and a firm legal standing as a recognized non-profit foundation able to accept tax deductible donations.

Who we work with



Since 2008 Documentary Arts Asia has been serving aspiring documentary photographers from all parts of Asia with workshops, grants, gear loans and organizing exhibitions.

In the first 3 years DocArtsAsia learned a lot through experimenting and research we refine our teaching methods and decided to add many more services that were needed transform our students into world-class photographers, such as a photobook library, cinema, Artist in residency, Specialized and advanced workshops, Long-term mentoring, Training of Trainers and a physical center and gallery to exhibit long term documentary projects.

In 2011 DocArtsAsia won the Howard Chapnick Grant, from the prestigious W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund. The Chanpnick grant played a vital role in the initial expansion of our services and gave a morale boost to our organization to continue working hard in pursuit of our goals and vision.

Just a month after opening the beautiful gallery / cinema to an impressive crowd of people hungry for quality long-term documentary photo and film projects, DocArtsAsia launched a new major program. The Chiang Mai Documentary Arts Festival which was one of, if not the first event of its kind to combine documentary photo festival with a documentary film festival.

Six months after opening the center DocArtsAsia was graced by the presence of many top photojournalists while hosting the Foundry Photojournalism Workshops which was attended by 160 incredible aspiring documentary photographers from Asia and beyond.

For the next year DocArtsAsia kept a very active program of events, workshops, exhibitions and films at it’s Chiang Mai center while continuing to make regular trips to Laiza, Kachin State Burma. Finally feeling that Laiza students were ready for their own center,  with the help of Internews, DocArtsAsia opened its second center.


In the Media

The International Network of Engaged Buddhists


Q – How is DocArtsAsia funded?

A – DocArtsAsia is a not for profit organization and we received limited funding to start the physical center/gallery.

In addition to grants DocArtsAsia strives to make much of it’s own funding.  This gives us more independence and also assures we are working at a professional levels and making sure our services are valued.

As of now we have no further external funding and it limits us to mostly things the market will support.  We want a balanced approach, to run activities the market will support in the market, but also have grant money to tap into for activities the market will not support alone.

Q – Where is DocArtsAsia?

A – DocArtsAsia closed in centre in Chiang Mai in 2017, however we maintain a presence in Laiza, Kachin State. Our projects and initiatives however are nomadic and worldwide. We’ve hosted, curated and organized exhibitions, workshops, trainings, festivals and events accross Asia and in the USA.

Q – Can I visit DocArtsAsia?

A – If you happen to be in Laiza, Kachin State, please drop us a line. However we currently have no walk in centre. 


Ryan Libre – ryan@doc-arts.asia

FaceBook – @DocumentaryArtsAsia


Where DocArtsAsia works

over 100 Exhibitions in Chiang Mai

FCCT Exhibitions

Suwon Festival

Dali Photo

Kyotographie Festival Portfolio Reviews

Laiza Center

BookShowcase @ Yangon Photo

KL photo festival Exhibition

Pingyao photo festival Portfolio reviews

Workshop in Taiwan

Myitkyina exhibitions

Jinju exhibitions

Luang Prabang Workshops

Olympic Peace Workshop

Battambang workshop

Gave free Scholarship for Foundry Workshop

Workshops with Kachin Refugees

Laiza Gallery / Centre

DocArtsAsia Laiza Center