Arts preview: Beauties of Myanmar

Vanessa Yung

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 August, 2013, 10:42pm

A piece from Aung Thiha's Bathing Beauty series.


The Taipa Houses-Museum, Macau


For its latest exhibition on contemporary Myanmese art, the Asia Fine Art gallery teams up with the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau of Macau to showcase a series of female portraits by three up-and-coming artists.

The Wan Chai gallery has been exhibiting art from Myanmar for almost a decade, and "Beauties of Myanmar" focuses on the different styles and approaches to portraiture of fine art graduates Aung Thiha, Khine Minn Soe and Saw Kyaw Zaw.

Saw Kyaw Zaw's works are considered to be the most contemporary, says the gallery's director, Sidney Cowell. At 32, the youngest of the three artists, he has a distinct style, paying tribute to his Karen roots by depicting tribal women running errands or playing music.

"I always use dry colours. I have two reasons for that: one is to represent their life, the other is [to achieve better] colour value," Saw Kyaw Zaw says.

Khine Minn Soe's paintings, meanwhile, are all about "showing the beauty of our costumes and the character of our women", he says. All his female subjects are in their traditional garb, sitting elegantly in their typical resting pose.

Aung Thiha's works have more layers. There are women bathing in the background, topped by a separate layer of sheen. He creates a sense of dimension and a transparent, wet-and-blurry effect to imitate water streaming on glass in the foreground.

Cowell has high hopes for the trio as well as the future of Myanmese art. "With the country opening up, it's in vogue. And that's how it's going to be."


Exhibitions Gallery, Taipa Houses-Museum, Avenida da Praia, Taipa, Macau, Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-6pm. Ends October 13. Inquiries: (853) 8988 4100