If I Say It’s True Seven Times

If I say it’s True Seven Times by Moe Satt
Assistant Curated by Thet Thet Nway Htwe

I was born at Gymkhana Hospital, Yangon, in 1983. My parents were then living in Taung Lone Pyan Ward. After I was born, they moved to Nyaung Tan Ward right next to Pazundaung Creek. That was where I grew up. That was where my foreskin loosened and could be fully pulled back.

My generation, before we were removed from the huts and put in the flats, had a really good time catching tadpoles in ditches and bathed ourselves in tobacco water. And we cleaned our bodies with carbolic soap.

Now that I am 35, I often ask myself how a 35-year-old man would explain a particular period of time in which he grew up and saw things.

A line from the song Yaung Zin Khun Na Thwe (a spectrum of seven colors) which was penned by Inzali Maung Maung goes “If I say it’s truth seven times…” Inspired by this song, I thought about making seven artworks to illustrate my boyhood during the later stages of Ma Sa La (Burmese Way to Socialism) and the entire period of Na Wa Ta (State Law and Order Restoration Council).

Are we truthful? Have we ever been truthful at all? What did we say to the man who repeatedly told lies to us in the 70’s? If you look back to the 80’s, you could still hear the students’ protest song that goes like “This revolution and this history we wrote with our blood…”** Has the revolution ended? (Has it reached its golden days?) The scars of the revolution are all over my body.

I built a setting for my artworks on the foundations of my experience living through the 80’s and the 90’s and the things other people have said and done. I built this setting like the Na Wa Ta government constructed buildings from the concrete mixture ratio of 5 parts sand and 1 part cement, fostering the slogan that goes “Towards a new modern developed nation.”

My works are my efforts to unlock/reveal truths.

**from the song These Grievances Will Stand Until the End of the World written by Naing Myanmar

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