All in Jest: Lwin Oo Maung 

Three years ago, Lwin Oo Maung sold 3 small paintings, 12 x 12 inches each. They were a Naga (dragon), a Phoenix (bird), and a Lion – Nat (spirit) guardians at the temples of Mrauk U in Western Myanmar. These animals were not the fearsome creatures one witnesses at the temples. They were almost comical – goofy smiles, animated faces, and all in the simplest of brushstrokes and most wonderful color combinations. His message was clear – why do we worship these silly creatures? They have no power other than that which we assign to them. There are more important issues to which we should be giving that power.

Lwin Oo Maung identifies with animals. He enjoys their mythic relevance here in Myanmar as well as their practical uses in the daily lives of farmers and traders. The Donkey Series is one of those instances of artist identifying with a misunderstood and often abused creature, a work “horse”, a funny face, a sad and tired soul. Hail to the zodiac, and the temple guardians, and jungle birds and tired horses, hail the donkeys and ants, hail to Lwin Oo Maung.

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