Voices of Transition: Contemporary Art from Myanmar
The exhibition focuses on the self-perception of the artist within Myanmar society. The works of these artists are rooted in a rich tradition of Theravada Buddhism, calligraphy, and performance art. And yet, their artistic productions are made distinct by radical new challenges and opportunities during the political transition process. The selected artists are vigilant to narrow categorisation and misrepresentation of their idiosyncratic perspectives and artistic outputs. Sensitive to this self-perception, we are stressing personal voices and merits and how, as individuals, these artists challenge established perceptions.
We aim to communicate the dynamic experiences of artists in Myanmar from the inception of contemporary art in Myanmar in the 1980’s to the present day. Our title – ‘Voices of Transition’ – demonstrates our enquiry into the transitional context for contemporary artists, understanding the oppression of state censorship, and how artists have boldly fought to have their voices heard. We also place the work in a broader, non-artistic context and challenge the reality of the often quoted ‘transition to democracy’ of Myanmar post-2015.
In essence, ‘Voices of Transition’ asks how we reconcile individual voices and national context, in order to understand societal ‘transition’.
Visitors to the exhibition will be exposed to a carefully curated set of media and practises. Moe Satt (b. 1983) presents his captivating video-art ‘Hands around in Yangon’ (2017), which deals poignantly with the daily tasks of many pairs of hands, revealing through its hypnotic pace the inner-workings of a day in the life of Yangon. Aye Ko (b.1963), winner of the Joseph Balestier Freedom of the Art’s Prize 2017, prints striking and tortured self-depictions, through which we are able to reflect on his time as a political prisoner. Nge Lay’s (b.1979) visceral and disarming photography explores the effects of time on the bodies of the female role models from her personal life, illustrating a central curatorial tenet of the exhibition, the departure of the old and the emergence of a new generation.
Aye Ko / Aung Myint / Chaw Ei Thein / Htein Lin / Kaung Su / Mayco Naing / May Phue Thet / Moe Satt / Nge Lay / Nyein Chan Su / Yadanar Win / Phyoe Kyi / Soe Yu Nwe / Zar Min Htike / Zoncy
Exhibition: Thursday 16th November – Sunday 3rd December
Opening Reception: Wednesday 15th November, 6 – 9.00 pm