from Blouin Artinfo
BY SONIA KOLESNIKOV-JESSOP | NOVEMBER 06, 2014
Since the end of military rule in 2011, Myanmar has been in a transitional period with great expectations now being replaced by concerns about the pace of change and the impact on society.
“Through Women’s Eyes,” an exhibition running at One East Asia Gallery in Singapore until November 22, presents the works of five female artists from Myanmar (formerly Burma) who express their various worries through painting and photography. Several different generations of artists are represented in the five with Myint Myint Tin, who is one of the older artists, using oil on canvas to celebrate the beauty of the country’s landscapes and the central role of Buddhism in Myanmar society, while also expressing her concerns about environmental and cultural issues; meanwhile young emerging artists like photographer Zoncy creates staged shots to address issues of femininity and the role of women in a changing society.
The show is curated by the Singapore-based pop-up art gallery Intersections, which started two-years ago specializing in Myanmar art. “People know mainly stereotypes about Myanmar art, monk paintings, but there is much more to it,” explains Marie-Pierre Mol, co-founder of the gallery.
Myint Myint Tin (b 1944) studied painting under the Burmese master U Lung Gywe and was one of the first female artists in the country to experiment with abstract and conceptual art, while contributing to the development of the local art scene as a gallery owner supporting a younger generation of artist. Speaking to Blouin Artinfo, the artist said the opening of the country has led to tremendous and rapid changes on the local art scene, importantly it has allowed artists to access much needed materials: “Now we can get anything, it’s a big advantage. And the younger generation has access to the Internet, and are now able to try their hands at computer art for example,” she notes.
“Now we can show more of our feelings through our works, though there is still some censorship. For example, we can’t really show nude paintings,” adds Phyu Mon, a multi-disciplinary artist, who is presenting some of her photographs for the first time. Her two series, “Reflections in Puddles” and “Blurred Visions of the Past, Clear Glimpses of the Future,” capture the reflections of people or buildings in a glass panel or simply in puddles and these provide an introduction to talk about past, present, and future, expressing her mixed feeling about the current transitional period. Some of the photos include interesting hand gestures that refer to Buddhist symbolism.
Painter and sculptor Nann Nann (b 1974) has exhibited internationally several times already and in this exhibition she presents a selection of semi-abstract works in black, white, and red that evoke images of monks in peaceful landscapes, while creating texture by sewing different canvases together and tracing her fingers in the paint.
Photographer Nge Lay superimposes old and new photographs of women in her somewhat disturbing series “The Past and the Present” that reflects on the society changes currently happening in her country, which she feels should not come at the expense of Myanmar’s national heritage. In another series she uses staged photography that superimposes the heads of women from her neighborhood on toy robots, comparing local women to super-heroes.
Finally young photographer Zoncy, whose father is a member of the persecuted Karen people, reflects on the issue of ethnicity by covering the faces of her subjects with leaves, flowers and fruits.