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‘“Yangon Made My Heart Beat Fast:” New Contemporary Art from Myanmar’

Exhibition details

Opening / Event Date:
16 February, 2017
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Closing / End Date:
30 March, 2017
Event Category:

Karin Weber Gallery is pleased to announce“Yangon Made My Heart Beat Fast:” New Contemporary Art from Myanmar’, a show which explores the blossoming of individual expression, creativity, and the emergence of new voices and viewpoints in an evolving Myanmar. As newfound freedom engulfs the Burmese capital, change occurs at a breathtaking pace.

The exhibition features work by eight of Myanmar’s most compelling experimental artists working across a range of media, including painting, performance, and photography. The artists – Htein Lin, Aung Khaing, Chan Aye, Phyu Mon, Zun Ei Phyu, Thynn Lei Nwe, Myint San Myint, and Khin Thethtar Latt – represent multiple generations of artists who share a common interest in working on subject matter and formats outside the realist schools of art favored by the previous military governments. These artists operated on the perimeter of the traditional gallery scene where they carved out a space for themselves as modern artists amid cultural preferences for the traditional.

The new work reveals a colorful experimental art movement unique to Myanmar that is based in Theravada Buddhism and Burmese folklore and history, alongside statements on the rapidly evolving environmental, socio-economic and political landscape. Beloved local poet Aung Cheimt captures this frenetic energy and built up hope in his poetry, which includes the line “Yangon made my heart beat fast.”

In today’s Myanmar, artists are using new materials and formats to express their fears and hopes for the future. Female artists are also stepping forward with a louder voice, taking center stage in conversations on canvas or in performance spaces. Curator Melissa Carlson notes “Myanmar’s contemporary artists are exploring their identity and greater society one-year after the transition to semi-civilian rule, and the innovative stories that these artists wish to share are told in vibrant color and varied formats.” The exhibition provides another milestone in Karin Weber Gallery’s near twenty-year history of showcasing art from Myanmar.

Workshop & Performance Event:
18 March 2017 (Saturday), 4-7pm at Karin Weber Gallery

About the Artists

Htein Lin (male, b. 1966) is a well-established performance artist and painter whose career included six and a half years in prison for political protests where he documented his experiences using makeshift paint and canvases.

Aung Khaing (male, b. 1945) started painting in the late 1960s and experienced intense censorship due to his use of abstraction, color and nudity. His first attempted solo show in 1984 resulted in all 120 works being censored. He waited twenty-nine years for his first solo show in 2013.

Chan Aye (male, b. 1954) lives and works in Yangon and Pyin Oo Lwin. In 2015, he became the first Myanmar artist to create an on-site installation at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. A self-taught artist, his paintings incorporate the iconography of Myanmar cave and mural paintings, as well as elements of Western art, which he studied from books borrowed from secret libraries during the censorship era. His art examines the various states of life’s existence, and engages with the dualities of material and immaterial forms. He has exhibited in Singapore, Germany, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Korea, India, Thailand, China, USA (New York), and UK (London).

Phyu Mon (female, b. 1960) is a conceptual artist who creates paintings, installations, digital photography, and performance art that focus on the status of women in Myanmar. Phyu Mon initiated the women-only ‘Blue Wind Multimedia Art Festival’ that debuted in 2009 at the Myanmar National Museum. Her works have exhibited in Japan, Thailand, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Denmark, Spain, the USA, the UK, Italy, and France.

Zun Ei Phyu (female, b. 1986), a medical doctor by training, works in multimedia formats to address challenges facing Myanmar society, such as the education system, obstacles to the advancement of women, and religious tension.

Thynn Lei Nwe (female, b. 1991) graduated in 2014 from Lasalle College of the Arts in Singapore with a diploma in fine arts. She uses painting to create an imaginary world often filled with hybrid creatures.

Myint San Myint (male, b. 1965) started painting as a child with the roots of betel nut fruit as a makeshift brush. He uses silkscreen and painting to focus on social commentary. He held solo shows at Pansodan Gallery in 2011 and at Lokanat Galleries in 2014, plus participated in shows in Hong Kong in 2014 and 2015.

Khin Thethtar Latt (Nora) (female, b. 1990) is a multi-media artist working in painting, performance and photography. Nora studied with the New Zero Art Space collective in Yangon. Her work focuses on issues impacting her generation, including gender and the environment.


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