Outside influences seep into Myanmar art scene – New York Times

MYANMAR BURMA ART SPACES GALLERIES ARTISTS

In an article written for The New York Times, Ceil Miller Bouchet introduces us to the budding art scene in Yangon, the biggest city in isolated Myanmar. He explores the art galleries, both commercial and artist-run, and meets established and emerging artists.

Aye Ko, 'Self Portrait 01', 1999-2007.

Aye Ko, 'Self Portrait 01', 1999-2007.

At the beginning of the article, Bouchet introduces us to Kyee Myintt Saw, a Burmese artist who paints “impressionistic oils of market scenes” while dreaming of a day when sketching nudes will be socially acceptable. Indeed, much of the art made by artists working in the country is of an abstract or semi-abstract nature, and all of the works have traditional, acceptable imagery as their subject. Aung Aung Taik, a locally-born artist who now resides in the US, is quoted by the writer as saying, “Painters learn excellent technique, but there’s no Allen Ginsberg in Burmese tradition.”

Click here to read the original article, titled “New Vistas for Burmese Artists”, in its entirety on the The New York Times website.

Despite the restrictions on subject, Myanmar is beginning to hold itself up to the outside world. A number of the artists mentioned by Bouchet have exhibited internationally: Aung Myint, winner of the 2002 “Jurors’ Choice Award” at the ASEAN Art Awards in Bali, Aye Ko, who has participated in residency programmes in Southeast Asia and beyond, and emerging artist Mor Mor, whose work, “NEXT”, won her second place in the Sovereign Asian Art Prize (Public Vote) in 2008. In addition, younger artists now have access to external influences via the Internet and interaction with international visitors. Other artists mentioned in the piece include Nyein Chan Su (also known as NCS), Min Zaw and Ming Wae Ung.

Aung Aung Taik, 'Fish Number 10', mixed media sculpture, created during a residency at New Zero Art Space in January 2010. © 2011 Aung Aung Taik.

Aung Aung Taik, 'Fish Number 10', mixed media sculpture, created during a residency at New Zero Art Space in January 2010. © 2011 Aung Aung Taik.

Five galleries are profiled, many of which are owned by local artists and run on very tight budgets. River Gallery, which shows “figurative and semi-abstract work”, has been in operation for six years, Inya Gallery, founded in 1989, offers audiences and buyers mostly abstract fare and New Treasure Art Gallery has been holding exhibitions since the late Eighties. Newer galleries include New Zero Art Space, founded by Aye Ko, which focuses on international artist exchanges, and Studio Square, which is both an art space and a shared studio.

Aung Myint, 'Mother and Child', 2007, mixed media: ceramic and color, 18 x 23 cm. Image credit: Thavibu Gallery.

Aung Myint, 'Mother and Child', 2007, mixed media: ceramic and color, 18 x 23 cm. Image credit: Thavibu Gallery.

Have you travelled to Myanmar recently? Tell us about the art spaces and artists you encountered on your visit by leaving a comment below.

KN/HH

Related Topics: Myanmar/Burmese artists, art spaces, artist-run galleries, painting

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Comments

Outside influences seep into Myanmar art scene – New York Times — 1 Comment

  1. About a year ago I was living and working in Yangon. A friend of a friend told me about an underground art gallery that had shows once a month. Usually it was a collaboration of Burmese artists and their work was amazing. It was an informal setting, snacks, music, people paiting, full of creativity. Eventually the government found out and shut it down. Too many foreigners and Burmese citizens in one place makes Myanmar officials nervous.

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