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Asian Art Gallery Presents Burma Rising

Ranjani Saigal

“I walk in the morning into the Gallery and stare at the “Monks on the Morning Round” by Min Wae Aung and I get mesmerized” says  Santhana Krishnan the owner of the Asian Art Gallery that is currently hosting a contemporary art show from Myanmar. The work of Min Wae Aung takes ones breath away. “It takes a great deal of confidence to have so much open space on a canvas. That is a true testament to the amazing talent of this artist says Krishnan. 

Burma Rising showcases 20 artists including famous Myanmar artists Min Wae Aung, U Marlar and U Sein Myint.  Burma Rising has abstraction, reality, religion, tranquility, nature, silent tombs, rising pagodas, town life, farm life, daily humdrum, monks, the song of the lone bird, endearing stone sculptures that remind of an era gone by, temple and other places of worship, dancers, musicians and deities in stone, images of modern Myanmar and so much more.

There are also lingering imageries of palaces, river banks, river boats shoring off and setting sail, commerce and people that transport us to a time and place most of us can remember as distant shots from Hollywood productions.

“With every show, we choose a social cause to support in the region” said Santhana Krishnan, Founder of Asian Art Gallery.  “The Burma Rising show will support the Arts Mandalay Foundation and exchange of ideas through workshops between South East Asian artists”.

The Arts Mandalay Foundation supports authentic arts performances in the diverse traditions of Myanmar, and the passing of skills from master to apprentice in the next generation of artists. Arts Mandalay was founded by a former MIT professor and serial entrepreneur, Dan Ehrlich who has been visiting Myanmar for the last 22 years.

“I took the trip last year and I was absolutely taken with the art and music of Burma. It inspired me to feature the art”says Krishnan. 

Here is a description of the works in the words of the curator..

The works are distinctively Burmese, untouched by the changes in the world outside of the region This singular quality rhymes in each of the work showcased in Burma Rising and makes for a breath-taking view into the heart of Myanmar and its centuries of cultural history.
There is plenty of drama in the visuals despite the restrained and laid back approach of the artists with respect to color and themes. It is necessary to remember and appreciate at this point, the spirit and love these artists have for their techniques. The challenging art censorship of the regime and restriction to the topics one can work upon has not deterred these amazing artists, who have risen like phoenixes for the world to see.
Some of the works are extremely modern in thought and approach, challenging the society’s perception of idealized beauty. In a way, the collection in Burma Rising may be considered as tracing the evolution of Myanmar through the ages culturally and historically minus the political scenario of the country.

Just as a journey through Myanmar is not just of what interesting things you bring home, but more of the tales you will have to tell up on your return, this congregation of works of Burmese artists deliver on the same lines. These works represent the heart and soul of a country, and its people braving across its borders. It is our time to take a piece of this movement home.

A beautiful exhibition truly worth a visit. 
For more information visit www.asianartgallery.org/events and www.artsmandalay.org

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