The Second Wave: Thailand’s Economic Struggle



While the initial economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was sudden and visible, the longterm effects of this ongoing global crisis are unknown. This digital exhibition from ART WORKS Projects examines the continued struggles faced by impoverished communities and workers in the informal economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This exhibition features photography by Lauren DeCicca and writing by Ryn Jirenuwat, both currently based in Bangkok, Thailand.




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 now faces a new disaster: the crippling economic impact of the pandemic on their most vulnerable citizens.


This digital exhibition explores 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.



AWP programming is made possible through The Conant Family Foundation, The MacArthur Foundation, and The Henry Nias Foundation.


To learn how to become a sponsor of this program, please contact Annalise Flynn-Taylor at



Lauren DeCicca is a documentary photographer based in Bangkok, Thailand. She has spent over 7 years in Southeast Asia covering political upheaval, humanitarian disasters, social issues and healthcare crises. She has photographed on assignment for The New York Times, National Geographic, Getty Images, among others and her work has been recognized by Photos of the Year International with an award of excellence in 2020.
Instagram: @deciccaphoto




Ryn Jirenuwat is an independent Thai journalist, documentary producer, and news producer. For more than a decade, Ryn has covered a wide array of stories ranging from human rights and environmental issues to investigative reports and politics. She is a contributor to The New York Times, BBC, Al Jazeera English, Channel News Asia, Financial Times, the Guardian, National Geographic, among others. Ryn is based in Bangkok.
Twitter: @Ryn_writes