In my work, I explore different ways of expressing my experience of alienation, confusion and pain as a cultural outsider by creating narrative spaces that explore the lines between insides and outsides.

Playing on the idea of the body being the house that shelter the spirit, I create work that is symbolic of the self. I instil the metaphorical sculptural self with a sense of organicity and intricacy by gesturing the bodily- the viscera and skeletal, morphing into the botanical to express the vitality, delicacy, and injury of the spirit inhabiting and animating the forms. 

As a third generation Chinese immigrant in Myanmar, I seek inspirations from cultural practices of ethnic Chinese and the local Burmese. Local animistic beliefs, folklores and mythologies inspire the imagery in my work. I am particularly interested in the female figures in Buddhist mythologies. In my most recent body of work, I explored creating hybrid bodies using imagery of Naga Maedaw, a dragon queen in Buddha’s birth stories, Jataka Tales.

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. 

Through exploring the otherness within the self, I hope to create enigmatic bodies, comprised of poetic spaces dwelled by the liminal self, fragmented and dislocated, in search and in transition, captured in a moment of growth and transformation.


Soe Yu Nwe (born.1989) is an artist from Myanmar. After earning a MFA degree in Ceramics at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design in 2015, Soe has been participating in numerous residencies in the United States and across Asia. Her experience of living cross-culturally has inspired her to reflect upon her own identity through making, conceiving it as a fluid, fragile and fragmented entity. Through transfiguration of her emotional landscape by poetically depicting nature and body in parts, she ponders the complexities of individual identity in this rapidly changing globalized society. Soe’s work has been exhibited internationally. Her recent exhibitions includes the 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (Australia), 2018 Dhaka Art Summit (Bangladesh), The New Taipei City Yingge Ceramic Museum (Taiwan), Yavuz Gallery (Singapore), ZieherSmith in Chelsea, New York (USA), The National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta (Indonesia), and a solo exhibition at Myanm/art, Yangon (Myanmar). Recently, Soe has become an invited member of IAC (International Academy of Ceramics) as the first member from Myanmar. Her work has been recently acquired by the Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia. Soe is also a finalist for 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30: Art & Style.

2 thoughts on “SERPENTINE: SOE YU NWE

  1. Hi,
    I recently visited the GOMA APT IN Brisbane and fell in love with your snake ceramics.
    I live in Australia and wonder if they are for sale.
    I noticed you are having an exhibition in the new year.
    Would it be possible to email any photos of the works for sale ?
    Thank you
    Frances Cull

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