Soe Yu Nwe: A Solo Exhibition

Soe Yu Nwe is an artist from Myanmar, who recently returned after studying and perfecting her sculpting and firing skills in the USA at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). The exhibition – Soe Yu Nwe: A Solo Exhibition – will open on 3 February and will be the artist’s first ever solo exhibition in her home country. It will also be Myanmart’s first time showing ceramic artwork.

See below her artist statement for the upcoming show:

In my work, I explore different ways of narrating my experience of alienation, confusion, pain, and psychological confinement as a cultural outsider. I seek to create narrative spaces that explore the spatial relationships between the fragmented and dislocated self with the surrounding environment along with a yearning for connection.

I convey these experiences through the use of symbols (house, shrine, vessel, and snake) as metaphors for the self. As a third generation Chinese immigrant in Myanmar, I look back to Buddhist and Animistic practices in my native country, in addition to Chinese cultural practices, for inspiration in my work. The concept of “Spirit Houses,” in particular, influences my work. Spirit Houses are animistic shrines that people in Southeast Asia build to placate the spirits disrupted by the human habitat by offering them shelter, food, and entertainment.

Building upon the imagery of these ruined sacred spaces, I instill my metaphorical sculptural self with a sense of organicity and intricacy by gesturing the body, the viscera, the skeletal, and the botanical to express the vitality, the delicacy, and the injury of the spirit inhibiting and animating the forms.

Art making, to me, is an ontological quest. I explore the nature of being by attempting to depict the ephemerality of the human condition. Condensation and displacement of violent desires, tender affections, spiritual hopes, sexual instincts and maternal conflicts are intimated with metaphors and symbols of nature’s cyclical growth, decay and death.


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