WRAPPED WOMXN

Wrapped Womxn ပြပွဲဟာ ရန်ကုန်အခြေစိုက် အမျိုးသမီးအနုပညာရှင်များ ဖန်တီးထားတဲ့ ဒီဇိုင်း၊ ပန်းချီ၊ ချည်ထည်၊ ဓာတ်ပုံနဲ့ ကြွေထည် အပါအဝင် မီဒီယမ်အစုံ အနုပညာလက်ရာများကို ပြသသွားမယ့် ပွဲပဲဖြစ်ပါတယ်။ ပြပွဲရဲ့ခေါင်းစဉ်ဟာ လုံခြုံမှု၊ ကာကွယ်မှုနဲ့ အကာကွယ်ယူထားတဲ့ ရုပ်ပိုင်းဆိုင်ရာတို့ကို ရည်ညွှန်းပါတယ်။ ဒါဟာ စွဲမက်ခြင်း သို့မဟုတ် စုပ်ယူခြင်း ဟုအဓိပ္ပာယ်ရတဲ့ ‘rapt’ ဟူသောစကားလုံးရဲ့ အသံတူ အကြောင်းကွဲ အနက်ပြန်ဆိုမှုတစ်ခုဖြစ်ပါတယ်။ Womxn ဆိုတဲ့ ဝေါဟာရဟာ အမျိုးသမီးများ(women) ဆိုတဲ့စကားလုံးကို တမူထူးခြားကွဲပြားသွားအောင် ဖန်တီးထားခြင်း ဖြစ်ပါတယ်။ ယခုပြပွဲဟာ အနုပညာနဲ့ တီထွင်ဖန်တီးမှုဆိုင်ရာကြိုးပမ်းမှု၊ ရုပ်ပိုင်းဆိုင်ရာ၊ အလှနဲ့ စိန်ခေါ်မှု စတဲ့ သဘောသဘာဝကို ရှာဖွေရန်ဖြစ်သည်။

အောက်ဖော်ပြပါ ထူးခြားသော အမျိုးသမီး အနုပညာရှင်များရဲ့ ကြိုးပမ်းအားထုတ်မှုနဲ့ လှပသောလက်ရာများကို ကြည့်ရှုခံစားနိုင်ရန် အနုပညာချစ်သူတို့ကို ကျနော်တို့ Myanm/art မှကြိုဆိုလျက်ရှိပါတယ်။

Wrapped Womxn is an exhibition of artists working in and out of Yangon in a variety of mediums, including design, painting, textiles, photography and ceramic art. The title of the exhibition alludes to the idea of safety, protection and the physicality of being wrapped. It is also a homophone for the word ‘rapt’, meaning fascinated or absorbed. The word womxn is an alternative word for women, as a rejection of the folk etymology of ‘woman’ allegedly being ‘of man’. This exhibition aims to be an intersectional exploration of artistic and creative pursuits, physical, beautiful and challenging nature.

Sandar Khaing

The Naked Truth 
Acrylic on Canvas 
1 x1 ft (40 pieces)
2020

Acceptance of the naked truth in the country is still rare today.  Why? It is possible that they were raised under cultural, political, racial and religious oppression.  As an artist, you need to be aware of these.  These kind of works are needed in order to be more in touch with the public.  Its only been a few years that artists are allowed to show nude paintings in this country.  There are still people who think that nudity is dirty.  It is considered an artistic creation.  Mother and son, brother and sister, partner to partner – they can feel together as in these works. If we accept the truth, we can believe that we can do much better.

Artist Bio

Sandar Khaing is as a leading contemporary female artist in Myanmar and one of only a few female artists who kept pushing the boundaries in Myanmar. She studied under prominent artists Pe Nyunt Wai and Win Pe Myint. Known for her large female nudes, she rarely had the opportunity to show her work in public before 2012 as the Myanmar censorship board banned any form of nude art. 

She only paints with live nude models, which is not easy to find in the conservative Myanmar society. The inspiration for her “The Naked Truth with Camera” series arose from asking one of her nude models to hold a camera when posing. She realised the act of holding the camera changed the model’s demeanour and added an air of ease and confidence. As a line artist, she prefers to draw heavyset women due to their curves.

She was featured in the New York Times as one of the artists in Myanmar who risked creating art under an oppressive regime. Her work has been show in more than thirty exhibitions locally and internationally, including Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, London and the United States. She has exhibited at Art Stage Singapore and London’s Saatchi Gallery START Art Fair.


Mafi Espirito Santo with Tina Grigoryan

Where to sit matters…..
Textile Installation 
Size Variable
2019-2020

As I was looking around me in search of my surroundings, certain cultural items caught my eye. Not only do the textiles all around the city peak artistic interest, but so do rather underrated items, such as: the common plastic tables and stools found charged with significance and suffused with meanings accumulated over years of everyday life.

The casual and charmed encounters of people drinking tea, eating and talking about all things – whether trivial or serious – on these seemingly insignificant plastic stools serve as a representation of the whirl of life this community embodies and the place where I had the chance to initiate this work.  I could not help but wonder why we, with our rich variety in social groups, races, minorities and genders, can’t equally sit on these same stools.

Yangon marked the beginning of the search for contextualization and illusion. I have found inspiration in Myanmar ethnic textile (playing with its aesthetic), not only for the pleasure of beautifying. This game indeed inverted the choice – instead of choosing the textile myself, it chose me and impelled me to modify its original idea. These stools have a beginning and no end – but started the need to search for authenticity. Maintaining its equilibrium of different textiles and ethnicities it communicates gives different significant(es)….This happened in a decorative mixture of emotions and many questions….

Artist Bio

Mafi Espirito Santo is a Portuguese/South African Artist born in Madeira and raised in South Africa. Post-graduate in Contemporary Brazilian Art at the State University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, Master in Fine Arts at the “Universidade Classica de Lisboa”. Mafalda exhibited and worked extensively in Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Brazil, Portugal, The Netherlands, China and France.


Nge Lay

Victoria 
Silicon, fabric and cotton sculpture 
Size Variable 
2020

Victoria is a textile installation showing two sides in the life of small child. In this case, a little girl. On one side are the pure images and texts representing the life and happiness of a small child. Shapes cut from children’s clothing, the imagery brings to mind the simple pleasures of innocence. However, on the other side, another pure symbol, yet for some, a chance to violate that purity. 

The risk that women face all over the world is real. The risk for young girls and small children is even more apparent. Victoria references a recent campaign in Myanmar named ‘Justice for Victoria’, a terrible case wherein a young toddler at a preschool was violated by a teenager. The adults in charge of the child’s care have yet to answer for their crime, and the perpetrator has disappeared. 

The vulnerability of children is under serious threat in society, but throughout the world, those who take advantage of this vulnerability rarely answer for their crimes. Victoria is a reference to all children, but especially young girls, whose minds are preoccupied with playful and happy images, but whose innocence represents a kind of opportunity for those who wish to harm them. We must be vigilant for the sake of young girls. We must protect them and their childhood. 

Artist Bio

Using everyday imagery and settings to translate her ideas about life, her country and her own identity, she creates photographs that hover between the descriptive, the spiritual, and the melo-dramatic. When photographing her subjects, Nge Lay plays with light and shadow in new ways to create the quiet but expectant tension that characterizes her colour prints.

Nge Lay has been an active participant in many exhibitions in Myanmar since 2002, and since 2009 her photographic works have been included in several notable art projects in Singapore, Korea and Vietnam. In 2011, she had her first solo show in Tokyo, Japan, and in January 2012 she was a finalist in the Sovereign Art Asia Prize in Singapore. She took part in the Singapore Biennale 2013, Asia Pacific Triennial 2016, and Jogja Biennale 2019. The artist is a co-organiser of the Thuye’dan Village Art Project, a project that brings art experiences, classes and exhibitions to a community in rural Myanmar.


Danuta Zasada

Self – Wrapped  
Photo Portraits and Digital Collage Printed on Canvas 
Size Variable 
2020

My experience as a woman living in Asia for fifteen years and dedicated to anthropological research and visual exploration of the world led me to believe in a feminist vision of society. 

These lenses of perception are especially useful in times of the Great Transformation, like here in Myanmar where tradition meets modernity (or even postmodernity) and the superficial aspects of things mask deeply rooted practices and believes. 

I have met many clever and internally strong Myanmar women and very often I have found them overwhelmed by the idea that “men know better”. I would like to encourage my Myanmar sisters to have more faith in themselves – you deserve it! 

Artist Bio

Born in Cracow, Poland, Danuta Zasada is Doctor of Sociology (PhD) from University of Warsaw. She studied Iberian Philology and completed a three year art course under Professor Roman Kaczor.  Her interest in art has mainly oscillated around reverse glass painting, paper and textile collage, digital collage and photography. She is also a poet and published two books of poetry in Polish language.  

Exhibitions and Awards:

1978 – Second place at The Artistic Mask Competition organized by Lamus Gallery and the “Pałac Pod Baranami” Cultural Center of Cracow, Poland;
1996 – Participation in a group exhibition of ‘Women in Art Movement’ of Pozuelo de Alarcón Town Hall, Madrid, Spain;
1998 – Photo exhibition “Spain”, Wyjście Awaryjne Gallery, Warsaw, Poland;
2002 – Photo exhibition “Glimpses from Bhutan”, Hungarian Information and Cultural Center, New Delhi, India;
2006 – Photo exhibition “Bhutan – Country and People”, Nusantara Gallery, Warsaw, Poland;
2008 – 2013 – various exhibitions at the Cashier’s Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (“White on White”, “Tiles” [paintings with acrylic], “The Biggest Brands Make the Greatest Oeuvres”[collages], among others);
2018 – “Views and Metaphors” – photos and digital collages, Studio Square, Yangon, Myanmar;
2018 – “Polish Women, Myanmar Women” (participation in a collective project “Building Bridges – Women of European Union-Women of Myanmar”) at the UE Residence, Yangon, Myanmar.


Soe Yu Nwe

Botanical Woman #3
Glazed hand built porcelain,
gold and mother of pearl luster
40 x 48 x 79 cm / 16 x 19 x 31 in
2018

In this piece, I create a woman sculpture in hybridisation with nature to explore notions of femininity. Inspired by my Chinese nickname  ‘Tree Flower’, which was named after my ‘Tree’ god mother in my grandmother’s garden, this sculpture is a point of trajectory in pondering our coexistence with nature within the culture and folk animistic beliefs that we create to maintain a harmonious relationship with it. 

Artist Bio

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. 


Jacqueline Bishop

Rapt (Adjective)
Acrylic on Canvas 
3.5 x 5 ft
2019

Rush (Noun)
Acrylic on Canvas 
2 x 4 ft
2020

I’m a New Zealander who has been living and working in Yangon for the last four and a half years. I have studied Visual Communication Design, and more recently, traditional iconography in the Greek Orthodox tradition. I just want my pictures to be a place of respite, firstly in the making and then, in the completed product, for viewers. I make stuff that I want to look at when I resting. Previously, my work was figurative and more literally illustrative, I was interested in still life, interiors, and portraits of ordinary people accorded the monumentality and stillness of icons or deities – the extraordinary in the ordinary – but more recently I’ve moved into abstract expressionism.

This approach had its’ beginnings when I was sitting in my friend’s apartment, here in Yangon, surrounded by artefacts from all over Asia. “I want something I can contemplate from the bath”, he stipulated. My eyes scanned his apartment. There are sculptures, masks, photographs, prints paintings and even hanging mobiles, depicting Buddhas, peasants, monks, deities, animals, birds, and trees. 

Then it hit me: no more things, no more representations. They speak back to you; they trigger narratives; they’re too noisy and busy for this project. What I started to make didn’t have a clear end point. In contrast to conceptual artists, such as Warhol and Ai Wei Wei, for whom the idea is paramount, and who might then employ teams of people to execute their ideas, for me, it has became more about the process. This involves stilling my thoughts, or at least not allowing them to take the driver’s seat. If there is an end point, it would be art as a form of sanctuary, in the footsteps of Agnes Martin and Park Sao Bo. 

Park Seo Bo (1931 – ) ‘The art of the 20th century is the artist pouring out one’s thoughts and ideas onto the canvas. The viewers are literally getting hit by images, created by the artist. It is not suitable for 21st-century art… Art should heal the minds of the people, just like nature’, and ‘absorb the viewers’ anxiety and anguish.’

Agnes Martin (1912 – 2004)

‘Happiness is our real condition.
It is reality.
It is life.
The times when you are not aware of beauty and happiness you are not alive.’


Ronnie Su Myat Yadanar

Common Shower
Digital + mixed media collage
10 x 10 in
2020
A Burmese woman’s common shower routine.


Flower Bath 
Digital + mixed media collage
10 x 10 in
2020
Woman takes a shower from a waterfall of flowers. (A rural version of a flower spa bath)

Shower Thoughts
Digital + mixed media collage
10 x 10 in
2020
Woman sitting in a pond is lost in her thoughts.

Artist Bio

Ronnie grew up in Penang, Malaysia. She is currently settled down in Yangon, Myanmar and working with multiple brands as a graphic designer. Mostly worked in styles of expressionism and surrealism while also working on trying to incorporate Burmese traditional arts.


Araya Komai

Vain [Non-Binary Bodies Collection 2/4]
Acrylic on Canvas 
3 x 5 ft
2019

Here I painted the tension, the strength, and the isolation of my chest. I’ve always had a removed relationship with my chest. In Vain, I look at the relationship between non-binary pecs/breasts/boobs/etc. The faces represent society looking and following each other in one direction, language and meaning. Asking questions of: What relationship do body parts have with language? What words make the body feel more visible or invisible? How can we re-counsel and exasperate the forces of the current social relationship of body parts to gender and work to prioritise a future of body fluidity and seen bodies outside of gender specifically in Pacific Islander cultures? 

V U L V X [Non-Binary Bodies 3/3] 
Acrylic on Canvas 
5.7 x 9 ft
2019

Visually unlinking the relationship of genitalia to gender, the orange and red filled legs open to a centered evolution of the body. The word vulvx stems from the Spanish word vulva meaning female genitalia, taking away the gendered “a” and adding the “x”, illuminates visibility to those of us who have bodies outside of gender. The faces in the background stare preserving a unified direction of understanding, while flouting the oranges, reds, and yellows that make up all of us.

Artist Bio

I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from San Diego State University in California which prepared me as a critical thinker with courses in post-colonial literature, rhetoric and writing, and queer adolescence in literature. In university, I was a part of the Andrea O’Donnell Womyn’s Outreach Association and The Pride Center. These communities have allowed me to grow in ways that I am deeply grateful for, in terms of both expression and identity. 

After completing my undergraduate degree, I proceeded to teach English abroad instructing in IELTS language preparation courses, business English classes to non-government organizations, and adult general English courses. Teaching has given me a range of transferable skills that I wish to hone and transfer to the community that surrounds me. I am eager to research more on minority artists creating brave content in countries with civil and political unrest. I want to host events like film screenings of performance artists, talks, and documentaries that provide the community with a new perspective or niche idea that can help to illuminate parts of the mind that have been resting.

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