Aung Ko (b.1980) is a contemporary artist whose paintings, films, installations, and performances address political and social issues including censorship, injustice, and power in Myanmar today. In 2007 Aung Ko began working on the Thuye’dan Village Art Project, an ongoing artists’ collaboration with the inhabitants of this remote and isolated community in which Aung Ko grew up. He and his wife Nge Lay regularly bring fellow artists to Thuye’dan to create performances, mobile sculptures, and other artworks in collaboration with villagers. Recently, the community came together to renovate their library. Aung Ko has shown his work nationally and internationally in such venues as the Singapore Biennale and the 4th Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale and was recently a resident of the Pavilion at Palais de Tokyo.
Aung Myint (b.1946) is a Myanmar painter and performance artist. In 1968 he received his university degree in science and taught himself to paint. He is considered a pioneer in experimental art, rejecting traditional romanticism and confronting social and critical issues through a range of styles and media. He has exhibited his work since the early 1960s, becoming a leading figure in Yangon’s contemporary art scene. In 1994 Aung Myint had his first solo exhibition at Inya Gallery of Art, his co-founded art venue. The following year, he gave his first stage performance with “Beginning and End,” and has created and performed numerous works in Yangon since then. Aung Myint has had solo exhibitions in Tokyo, Germany, Singapore and New York City. He co-authored the book Myanmar Contemporary Art 1 with Aung Min.
Chan Aye (b.1954) is a sculptor, installation artist, painter, and writer. His study of traditional Myanmar cave and temple mural painting, combined with his interest in Western art, have yielded a unique style that explores the physical and spiritual aspects of living, from everyday life in Myanmar to the devastation of Cyclone Nargis, to periods of political turmoil and change. His mediums include paint, wood, marble, glass, sandstone, paper from Myanmar Shan State, silk, motor equipment, lighting, bronze, and steel. Chan Aye has exhibited nationally and internationally, in Singapore, Germany, Finland, France, Hong Kong, India, Thailand, China, New York, and London.
Htein Lin (b. 1966) is a Burmese painter, installation and performance artist, who has also been a comedian and actor. He spent almost seven years in jail (1998-2004) for political reasons, and developed his artistic practice there. Forced to use items like bowls and cigarette lighters in the absence of brushes, he created paintings and monoprints on prison uniforms. Recently, his practice has expanded to include three-dimensional work and video. He meditates daily and sees Buddhism as a major inspiration, incorporating its themes, stories, and philosophy into his art. Since returning to Burma from a seven-year stay in London in 2013, Htein Lin regularly participates in global exhibitions and performance art festivals, including events and projects promoting freedom of speech, particularly in Myanmar. He is a founding member of the Burmese language arts website www.kaungkin.com.
Z Hkawng Gyung (b.1973), also known as Ko Z, was born in Taunggyi, southern Shan State and attributes his connection to the natural world to his roots in the hill states of Myanmar. He now lives in Yangon and creates photographs, performances and installations inspired by place, displacement, social injustice and environmental exploitation. Recent works deal with the harsh lives of ethnic insurgents forced to flee their homes for the border regions of Myanmar. Ko Z uses natural materials such as dry leaves, wood, charcoal, bamboo and Shan paper, manipulating them with graffiti, trash and found objects–an effect he calls “a modern pagan aesthetic that dips the elemental in gamma rays and garbage bags.” Since 2002, Ko Z has exhibited and performed in group exhibitions in Myanmar, and in solo or curated events internationally.
Kyi Wynn (b.1970) was born in Mandalay, where he began his painting and silkscreen career. His works blend a Pop Art poster technique, reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s multiple portrait silkscreens, to depict Myanmar’s social and political life and to create portraits of world leaders. Since 1989, he has exhibited regularly in solo and group exhibitions in Yangon and Mandalay, and overseas exhibitions in Singapore, Thailand, Paris, and the United States. In the recently concluded “Homage to Asian Peace Nobelists” exhibition in Mandalay, Kyi Wynn presented a portrait collection depicting some of the continent’s most recognizable faces, including Vietnamese revolutionary, Le Duc Tho; the Tibetan Spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama; South Korea’s former president Kim Dae-Jung; Chinese Human Rights Activist, Liu XIaobo; Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan; and Myanmar pro-democracy icon, Aung San Suu Kyi.
Ma Ei (b.1978) was born in Dawei, Myanmar, and graduated from Yangon University with a degree in Physics. She first explored painting and photography in 2007 and became a member of Yangon’s New Zero Art Space the following year. Her experimental and performance works often demonstrate feminist ideas and reflect her own lifestyle of defying traditional norms and living her life as a female artist. Ma Ei’s abstract photography, along with the documentation of her performances in past years, demonstrate her role in contemporary art in Myanmar. She has participated in over 30 local and international exhibitions and has been an artist-in-residence in Japan, Korea, India and the Netherlands. She presently lives and works as a full-time artist in Yangon.
Mayco Naing (b.1984) was born in Myanmar’s Irrawaddy region but moved to Yangon at sixteen to work in a photography studio. In 2014, a four-month French Institute residency scholarship abroad directly exposed her to Western thought and culture. Upon returning home, she realized that the fearfulness she saw in her generation was tied to their collective upbringing. “When I came back, I wanted to alarm the public – ahead of the November 2015 election – that we needed to change the education system,” she says. She decided to make photographs that reflected her generation’s experiences. In her recent series’, “Freedom from Fear” and “Humanity, Identity & Nudity,” Mayco says she aimed to reflect the Zeitgeist of those born around the 1988 Revolution, 20 and 30-year-olds who grew up in an age of conservative values, low education standards and a volatile dictatorship.
Moe Satt (b.1983) graduated from East Yangon University in 2005 and, in 2008, founded Beyond Pressure, an international performance art festival in Myanmar. His curated exhibitions include “On/Off: Myanmar Contemporary Art Event”; “The Almaz Collective” (Vietnam); “Forward/Backward: 8 Myanmar Second-Wave Contemporary Artists,” H Gallery (Thailand); “The Mirror: Reflecting Society,” TS1 Gallery (Myanmar); and “Silent for a While: Contemporary Art from Myanmar” (Hong Kong). Moe Satt’s work has appeared in the Busan Biennale; “The Journal of the Plague Year” (S Korea); CAFA Biennale (Beijing); “Concept Context Contestation: Collective-Driven Art in Southeast Asia” (Bangkok), “An Age of Our Own Making” (Denmark) and “Political ACTS: Pioneers of Performance Art in Southeast Asia” (Australia.)
Myat Tun Aung (b.1972) is an artist and Head of the Department of Painting at the National University of Arts and Culture in Yangon. Many of his figurative paintings have won praise for his astute depiction of the facial expressions of his subjects which appear to be communicating directly with the viewer. Myat Tun Aung’s paintings and teaching reflect his deep commitment to the lifestyle, culture, and traditions of Myanmar. He writes: “At present, painting is in a period of new development in Myanmar.” And he urges young people to create with courage and inspiration.
Nann Nann (b.1977) earned her fine art degree from the University of Culture in Yangon. Like many contemporary Burmese artists, she is deeply influenced by Buddhism, and she expresses her feelings on religion and spirituality in a series of elegant, abstract paintings that incorporate gold leaf. These pieces pay homage to the devotional aspect of Buddhism, whereby offerings are made by affixing squares of gold leaf onto pagodas and images of the Buddha. In 2011, when Myanmar made its political transition, opportunities for artists expanded, and Nann Nann began to exhibit widely and take on new commissions. She has shown her work in Yangon, Hong Kong, Thailand, Paris, Munich, and in several venues in the United States.
Nge Lay (b.1979) was born in Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar. In 2003, she graduated with a BA in Fine Art and Painting from the University of Culture in Yangon. In 2004, she received a second degree in economics from Yangon East University. A jewelry designer, sculptor, performance and installation artist, she is also exploring photography. Many of Ng Lay’s works reflect, in her own words, the “inner perception of the prevailing societies in Myanmar,” and how her country’s historical background has informed her life and work. She has participated in numerous group show. Her first solo show “The Relationship Between the Great Nothing,” was held at Youkobo Art Space, Tokyo, Japan, in 2011. She currently lives and works in Yangon.
Nyein Chan Su (b.1973), also known as NCS, was born in Yangon. He studied painting at the State School of Fine Arts in Yangon and has had solo exhibitions in several venues, including the Lokanat Gallery, Ivy Gallery and The Myanmar Gallery of Contemporary Art in Yangon. In 1997, NCS staged the first of many performance works and, soon after, established Studio Square, an art studio and gallery in Yangon. He has exhibited and performed throughout Asia. NCS’ works are in the collections of the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, the Singapore Art Museum, Philip Morris Group, Karin Weber Gallery in Hong Kong, La Luna Gallery in Chaing Mai, and in private collections in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe.
Nyo Win Maung (b.1955) was born in Yangon and earned a degree in psychology. Since 1973, his paintings, installations, performances, video and documentary works have appeared in galleries in Myanmar and abroad. A poet, Nyo Win Maung’s work focuses on contemporary political injustices and environmental exploitation. His performance works have appeared in several venues, including NIPAF art events, NICA’s art series, Blue Wind Art Projects, New Zero Art Projects, Beyond Pressure Art Festivals, and Next Window Art Projects in Myanmar. He has exhibited his work at the Mekong Networking Xchange (Thailand, Cambodia); the Salween River Art Exchange Project (Thailand) and “Mekong River, We Share” Art Exchange Project (Thailand); and venues in the United States and Germany.
Pe Nyunt Way (b.1952) was born in Yenangyaung, Myanmar, and graduated from the State School of Fine Arts in Mandalay. He is a full-time artist, illustrator, and designer. He has presented numerous talks and workshops, including a workshop at the American Center of the United States Embassy and a lecture at the British Council in Yangon. Pe Nyunt Way is one of the founders of Lokanat Gallery, Yangon. He has had numerous solo exhibitions and received many awards, including the 2004 ASEAN Art Award. He is the author of “What Is Art,” and is considered one of Myanmar’s “master artists.”
Phyu Mon ((b.1960) was born Mandalay, where she attended university. She later studied video and film production at the University of Finland. She is one of the few women artists in Myanmar working in digital photography, a medium she uses to focus on the cultural and economic issues facing Burmese women. She has exhibited her photo-collages and performed in group shows in several venues, including “Beyond Burma,” (Bangkok); “One Hundred Years International Days” (Hong Kong); “Magnetic Power,” (Seoul, Korea); “Speaking Alone – Aye Ko, Aung Myint, Nyein Chan Su, Phyu Mon,” (Bangkok); “Myanmar Contemporary Art Festival,” (London); “Blend the World,” (Copenhagen); and “We Are Burma,” (Berkeley, USA). Her recent solo exhibitions include “Hope – T.H.E.O. Arts Professionals,” (Singapore) and “Dream Lands,” Asia Fine Art Limited, (Hong Kong).
San Minn (b.1951) was born in Yangon where he studied painting under Myanmar’s most noted artists and teachers. His later work explores the relationship between artistic practice and political observation, and his paintings and installations center on corrupt authoritarian practices and social injustices. San Minn’s work is motivated by curiosity about the organization of the social environment in Myanmar. Many of his works depict the harsh realities of life after colonialism. A founder of Gangaw Village and Inya Gallery cooperatives, he has encouraged the development of contemporary art in Yangon. San Minn has exhibited Internationally in Bangkok and Chiangmai, Thailand; Kyoto and Fukuoka, Japan; Cologne, Germany; and Helsinki, Finland. He is also artist-in-residence at NIFKA, Helsinki.
Soe Yu Nwe (b.1989) was born in Myanmar. In 2015, she earned her MFA degree at Rhode Island School of Design. She has had residencies in the United States and Asia, and her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Her recent shows include a solo exhibition in Yangon at Myanm/art and a group exhibition at the ZieherSmith Gallery, in Chelsea, New York (USA). Soe Yu’s work was featured in the 4th Jakarta Contemporary Ceramics Exhibition, National Gallery of Indonesia in Jakarta and “The Tree of Life: Southeast Asian Ceramics Exhibition” at the Ayala Museum in Makati, Philippines. Her experience of living cross-culturally has inspired her to reflect upon her identity and to conceive of and depict it as a fluid, fragile and fragmented entity. She is currently a studio guest artist at Jingdezhen International Studio in China.
Sonny Nyein (b.1949) was born in Mandalay and, in 1971, earned his sculpture degree from the State School of Fine Arts in Rangoon. Five years later, he was hired to design exhibitions and publications for the US Information Service in Rangoon. He continued to create sculpture and co-founded the Peacock Gallery where, for many years, he showed his own and local artists’ works. He later rejoined USIS (1993) for a contemporary art study tour throughout the United States. Nyein’s ongoing investigation into modern ideas of form and space, combined with his reverence for traditional Myanmar culture led him to develop the artistic language, which has become the hallmark of his metal sculptures. Sonny Nyein makes art full-time in his own Tiger Studio and Gallery in Mingaladon Township, Yangon.
Thar Gyi (b.1981) was born in Yangon, and studied under several notable Myanmar art masters. He draws inspiration from his surroundings. His rhythmic paintings were inspired by a trip to Bagan when, climbing an ancient pagoda to see the Irrawaddy sunset, he was drawn to the textures and the subtle gradations of shadow in a newly ploughed field, revealed in the deep silhouette cast by the pagoda. Once home, he began experimenting with densely ordered ridges of paint that have become his signature. Since then, Thar Gyi has shown in over 170 exhibitions both at home and abroad. He has had solo shows throughout Myanmar and in Singapore, Thailand, China, and Germany.
The Maw Naing (b.1971) grew up in Taunggyi, Shan state, Myanmar. He studied Burmese Literature and Information Technology before attending Yangon Film School and the TV School of the Performing Arts in Prague (Czech Republic). He is a poet, artist, and filmmaker who made his first experimental documentary in 2005. His first feature-length documentary, “Nargis: When Time Stopped Breathing” (2010) was screened at 30 international film festivals, and won prizes in Switzerland, France, Nepal, and India. Moe Naing’s feature film “The Monk “ (2014) was shown in over 40 international film festivals and won awards in France, Romania, and South Korea. It is the first Burmese feature film given the chance to be shown in international film festivals. His recent installation work, “In and Out of Thin Layers,” is presently showing in Sweden.
Tin Win (b.1952) was born in Minbu in Central Myanmar and graduated from the State School of Fine Arts in Mandalay in 1970. While his favorite style of painting includes both abstract and realistic elements, most of his newer works focus on representative figurative paintings and portraits of the hill tribes of Myanmar. Applying a stunning degree of detail and color, he manages to turn his objects into immaculate pieces of art that seemingly come to life on canvas. Tin Win’s artwork has been exhibited at numerous exhibitions in Myanmar and internationally, and can be permanently viewed at Beikthano Art Gallery in Yangon.
Yadanar Win (b.1987) is a performance, video, and installation artist living in Yangon. In 2009 she became a member of New Zero Art Space, Yangon’s seminal education, new media, and contemporary art space, and stayed five years as an organizer, participant, and volunteer. During this time, she experimented with performance, video, and installation, leading her to develop a signature body of work performing, documenting performances and recreating them as elements that present her vision. Her works are both passionate and critical, often depicting Myanmar’s labored peace process or her own personal struggles as a young, female artist. Outside of her studio she is also an arts and cultural manager at the Goethe Institut – Myanmar in Yangon.
Zoncy (b.1987) who was born in Yangon explores how art can be an effective and strategic tool for communities in trauma. Through photography and performance, she addresses aspects of Myanmar’s diverse cultural and political identities. She teaches creative advocacy and community theater and is Program Director at Diverze Youth Art Platform, an organization she co-founded that cultivates a “culture of peace through preserving minority arts and cultures.” In 2014 she received the Austrian Government’s Landes Kultur Preise, was a finalist a for the Sovereign Asia Art Prize and Auction 2 (2013) and was awarded travel grants from the Euro-Burma Office, Civil Society Strengthening Initiative (CSSI), and the Henrich Boell Foundation. Zoncy has performed and exhibited locally and internationally.
ZZDD (b.1982) was born in the Northern Shan State of Myanmar and grew up in a small village on the Myanmar/China border. He is a freelance graphic artist and musician whose creative work aims to inspire youth and comment on social issues. He has channeled his recent work into raising awareness of the ongoing civil conflict in Kachin and Shan State, and the need to maintain Myanmar’s diverse cultural identity in the face of the current political transition and integration into the global community. ZZDD frequently collaborates with his wife and fellow artist, Zoncy.