Painting Everyday Life in Myanmar

The University of Hong Kong June 13 – September 9, 2016 The exhibit of 15 paintings, displayed in the entrance lobby of the Main Library, was structured around three core themes: Buddhism in Myanmar; Min Zaw’s Ordinary People; Another Day in Myanmar.

Thukhuma: Painting Myanmar in a Time of Transition

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

April 4 – July 29, 2016

From April 4 to July 29, 2016, the FedEx Global Education Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill kindly hosted a four-month exhibit of Myanmar paintings.

Altered State: Painting Myanmar in a Time of Transition

Yale University

February 24-29, 2016

On February 24, 2016, the Council on Southeast Asian Studies and the Alliance for Southeast Asian Students at Yale University kindly launched a one-week exhibit of Myanmar paintings.

Altered State: Painting Myanmar in a Time of Transition

Harvard University

February 4-22, 2016

On February 4, 2016, Harvard University Asia Center and the South Asia Initiative sponsored the launch of an exhibit designed subsequently to tour many US campuses. This contributed to the core aim of the Thukhuma Collection of using paintings to explore art, culture, education and politics in Myanmar.

The Thukhuma Collection @ SOSS

Singapore Management University

September 3, 2015

On September 3, 2015, the School of Social Sciences at Singapore Management University launched a five-year residency of 50 contemporary Myanmar paintings by 32 artists. All are drawn from the Thukhuma Collection. The exhibit was curated by Joanna Lee.

Prospect Myanmar: Painting a Transitional State

The University of Hong Kong

March 12 – April 2, 2015

Political reform started to sweep Myanmar in 2011, when a long-standing military junta handed power to an elected civilian government. While many big issues still need to be confronted, the country is visibly changing as people become more free. This exhibition provides one set of perspectives on Myanmar in reform by presenting paintings by about twenty artists. Together, they help generate a fuller understanding of a nation that for decades has had only limited contact with the wider world.

Changing State: Imaging Myanmar in a Time of Transition

The Chinese University of Hong Kong

January 14 – February 6, 2015

For four years since early 2011, Myanmar has undertaken a transition away from authoritarian rule towards what its current constitution calls discipline-flourishing democracy. In the process, much has changed inside this country of more than 50 million people and, at the same time, much has remained largely untouched. This exhibition assembles paintings from the reform period – all were completed in the past four years. They touch on many different aspects of this changing state – rural and urban life, majority and minority life, mundane and spiritual life, real and imagined life. Together, the paintings present a series of vivid perspectives on Myanmar in a time of transition.

Painting Myanmar: Ten Perspectives on a Changing Country

Hong Kong Baptist University

November 7 – December 5, 2014

Selected paintings by
Co Thiee
Eain Aye Kyaw
Min Zaw
Saw Lin Aung
Shwe Thein
Sue Htat Aung
Win Tint
Zwe Mon
Zwe Yan Naing

Banned in Burma: Painting under Censorship

Nock Art Foundation

October 20 – November 9, 2014

Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre

November 29 – December 1, 2014

For 50 years Burmese painters labored under strict state censorship. This exhibition will feature paintings produced under military governments from 1962 to 2011 and in the aftermath of the March 2011 transition to civilian rule. Visitors will enjoy a rare glimpse into the cultural community and mindset of artists operating under the mechanics of censorship. For many painters, this will be the first international exhibition of their work.

At a time when contemporary Burmese art is poised to follow China, Vietnam and other developing Asian countries into the international art market, it is important to understand the straightjacket of state control that existed until very recently. International art institutions such as the Guggenheim, the Singapore Art Museum, and the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum are already collecting Burmese art, but there has yet to be a major exhibition in Hong Kong showcasing established and emerging voices in the Burmese art scene.

Paintings that drew the attention of the Censorship Board will be displayed alongside paintings that escaped scrutiny through use of euphemisms or abstraction. Censorship in Burma often centered on color and format rather than ideology, and painters who used more modern, semi-abstract and abstract depictions faced great challenges as the Board favored more traditional and realist works. These paintings reflect Burma’s changing landscape and society, and offer a unique opportunity to view the artistic traditions of a once-closed land.

On view at the Nock Art Foundation from October 20 to November 9 and the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre from November 29 to December 1, the show is co-curated by Melissa Carlson and Ian Holliday in partnership with Pyay Way of Nawaday Tharlar Gallery in Yangon and in consultation with Aung Soe Min of Pansodan Gallery in Yangon.

Workshop on Politics, Business and Human Rights in Myanmar

Murdoch University

May 29, 2014

Myanmar’s politics and economy has been military dominated for some 50 years. With that weight now somewhat reduced, the country is in a state of rapid change. What are the opportunities and challenges? What does reform mean for markets and politics? How will poverty, inequality and rights be addressed? In this Workshop, four leading experts assess these questions and Myanmar’s future.

The Workshop will be followed by a reception to acknowledge the generous gift of 20 contemporary Myanmar paintings to the Asia Research Centre and Murdoch University by Professor Ian Holliday. All participants are welcome to join the reception and view a selection of these art works.


Ian Holliday
Myanmar and the Responsibility to Protect

Htwe Htwe Thein
From Cronyism to Oligarchy? Privatisation and Business Elites in Myanmar

Tun Kyaw Nyein and Susanne Prager-Nyein
Looking Beyond the 2015 Elections