The second wave

Thailand’s Economic Struggle

About the Project

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Thailand was ranked 6th globally in pandemic preparedness according to a report by the Global Health Security Index, and they have lived up to that statistic in terms of controlling the spread of the virus. Yet Thailand was presented with another disaster throughout the pandemic, the crippling economic impact on their most vulnerable citizens.

While the initial economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was sudden and visible, the long term effects of this ongoing global crisis are unknown. This digital exhibition photographer Lauren DeCicca and journalist Ryn Jirenuwat examine the continued struggles faced by impoverished communities and workers in the informal economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this exhibit, DeCicca and Jirenuwat explore the life-saving donations and medical aid provided by volunteer groups in Bangkok throughout the lockdown period. We meet parents struggling to feed their families; informal workers seeing their incomes vanish; and unemployed, homeless Thais sharing their struggles and fears as they attempt to navigate the “new normal.” However, for many–the hard work and dedication of volunteer groups within their communities offer hope. Today, Thailand’s economy is recovering and continuing to grow due to the return of tourism and other fiscal factors, yet many workers in the informal economy are still struggling.

As the global community continues to be impacted by COVID-19 and ongoing impacts of the pandemic and lockdown periods, important discussions about public health disparities, mental health, and the “new normal” are taking place.

about the artists

Lauren DeCicca

Lauren DeCicca is a documentary photographer based in Bangkok, Thailand. See Lauren’s artist page for more information.

Ryn Jirenuwat

Ryn Jirenuwat is an independent Thai journalist, documentary producer, and news producer. See Ryn’s artist page for more information. 

digital exhibition

ART WORKS Projects presents The Second Wave, a virtual exhibit by Lauren DeCicca and Ryn Jirenuwat.

The Second Wave is AWP’s first digital exhibit, launched on October 1st, 2020. The exhibit includes photographs and essays and follows the stories of workers in Thailand’s informal economy as they face extreme hardships brought on by the pandemic-related economic shutdown.

artist discussion

On October 13th, 2020, AWP held a Zoom conversation between Jirenuwat and DeCicca to discuss the creation of this project and provide an update on the impact of the pandemic in Thailand.

The Second Wave Zoom Conversation

bring this exhibit to you

All of our exhibitions are designed to tour and can be adapted to a broad spectrum of venue types and sizes.

We are happy to provide step-by-step support for hosting this exhibit.

Contact us to learn more about bringing this exhibit to your community.

A few people look at an exhibition of Congo Women in New York

New York installation of Congo/Women

resources & tools

Learn more about this issue and the ways you can stay informed and take action.


WIEGO Report

In April 2022, Women in Informal Employment (WIEGO) published a report to see how informal workers in Thailand were experiencing COVID-19 resurgences and ongoing economic strains and concluded that these workers are still facing many hardships. 

ILO/UN Report

In 2020, the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the UN released a report into the impacts of COVID-19 on the economy of Thailand. This report details the direct and indirect economic impact of COVID-19 and found that workers in the informal economy were most likely to be negatively impacted. 

World Health Organization (WHO)

support for this project

The Second Wave is generously supported in part by: