"I aspired to convey the soul of the beautiful Burmese people, their mystical culture and mysterious customs, in the most artistic way possible," says Heath. The book notably includes a hand written endorsement by renowned 1991 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi (aka "The Lady"). Her handwritten endorsement of David's project asserts, "Truly an enchanting book - the pictures reflect the beauty and diversity of Burma faithfully."
In search of a meaningful way to give back to a country that inspired his recent book, Burma: An Enchanted Spirit (a culmination of five years of work, eight trips to Burma, 38 flights, 10 visas, and six prescriptions of anti-malarial medication), adventure travel photographer David Heath partnered with the Suu Foundation and the Arts Mandalay Foundation to build the Inwa Performing Arts High School.
The first privately-funded school in Mandalay, the cultural capital of Myanmar, the project aims to preserve the traditional Myanmar performing arts while creating jobs and providing alternative education opportunities for low-income families.
“From the moment I first set foot in this magical land, I fell under its spell. I'm honored to have the opportunity to contribute to a community to which I feel very personally, artistically, and spiritually connected,” said Heath. “My goal for this project is to be able to provide this school and its teachers with the tools they need to develop a new generation of performers who are invested in advancing the country's future.”
Advised by the Minhar Theater and utilizing local master teachers, the school curriculum will include dance, music, classical theater, and historical performing arts. The school provides an opportunity for talented individuals to receive an academic high school education while playing a part in preserving the cultural identity of the area.
Using local Mandalay builders and resources, the funds raised will be directed toward the land lease, structure, supplies and staffing. Inwa Performing Arts High School will host 30 students and aims to be open on June 1, 2016. For more information on David's work, please visit http://heathstudios.com. For more information on how you can contribute to this project in Mandalay, please visit http://www.suufoundation.org/donate.html.
Buy book on Amazon.com: Burma: An Enchanted Spirit