B&R had the privilege of supporting the exhibition Women in Resistance held at Neimënster Abbey from December 9, 2021 to February 6, 2022, during which three committed Burmese artists were presented by Marie-Pierre Mol, Executive Director of INTERSECTIONS.
Despite the dark years of the military regime in Myanmar, artistic creation has always remained of high quality. Facing a very strict and omnipresent censure, artists have always found ways to express themselves, especially with ephemeral installations and with performance art. (Marie-Pierre Mol)
In this time where freedom of expression is threatened in their country, the Burmese artists Nge Lay, Mayco Naing and Chuu Wai Nyein have in common to question the role of women in Burmese society and the situation of ethnic minorities. The French Institute of Luxembourg invited the Commissioner Marie-Pierre Mol to present an exhibition of these three committed artists who are representatives of contemporary art in Myanmar. The event began with a round table on freedom of expression and woman’s rights as part of Human Rights Day.
Chuu Wai Nyein (Born in 1992 in Myanmar) is a Myanmar artist who has been active since 2008, working on paintings which reflect her interest in the female identity. The artist, who is an engineer (she holds a BA degree in IT engineering from the Technological University, Mandalay) as well as a painter (she holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Art from the National University of Art and Culture, Mandalay), creates series of works with many layers which conceal and reveal. Her artistic impulse found a new outlet after the sexual harassment of a guy on the street. The paintings are created against an awareness of the many ways society controls and scrutinizes women more than men, the ways that women resist, and the way that culture is evolving. She sees her paintings as part of that evolution.
She had eight solo exhibitions and about 30 local and international exhibitions including London, Paris, New York, Hong Kong and Canberra. She was invited as a speaker for international and local art talks and events such as Women’s Forum (Singapore), Global Entrepreneurship Week, British Embassy class. She is a founder of ‘Young Dream’ under the Jefferson Center (Mandalay) which is a group organizing workshops and exhibitions for young artists. In Myanmar, she is also well known as a young influencer artist and was for example selected to be part of the Myanmar Influencer Award. Chuu shared her inspiration and motivation on many TV channels, media and press articles, including BBC News, VOA Burmese News, Polskie Radio, Trebuchet Magazine, Frontier.
Mayco Naing (born 1984 in Myanmar) is recognized as one of the leading artists in the contemporary Asian photo art scene. For Mayco Naing, art is not only a means of expression with which she questions the state of Myanmar society, but also a way to make the place of women in society evolve. Since she founded her own photo studio in Yangon in 2009 and became involved with the annual Yangon Photo Festival in 2013, Mayco Naing has participated in many international exhibitions and exhibited in prestigious events such as the Lyon Biennale in 2011 and the Bangkok Biennale in 2015. One of her main roles is assisting with the teaching of photography throughout the country, particularly in areas with little or no access to photographic education.
Nge Lay (born in 1979) has a Bachelor Degree in economics and in fine arts from Yangon University of Culture. Nge Lay’s work shows concern about gender issues and about the lack of freedom in her country. In an interview she explains:
“In today’s Myanmar society, sexual discrimination in our everyday life and work environment is not as strong as before. However, due to deep-rooted conventions, as well as economic and political imbalances, the role of women has not yet been recognised despite the fact that an icon such as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is more powerful than any male.” She expresses herself mainly through performance and installations art and photography. Together with her husband Aung Ko, Nge Lay has also been involved in a community project in her husband’s hometown Tuye’dan Village, an isolated place, 340 km from Yangon, were the main activities were the exploitation of the forest and making charcoal. Because it was close to an ammunition factory, the people were afraid of any contact with people outside of the village, which could upset the government. Aung Ko and Nge Lay spent two years saving up money to set up this art project: the 1st Thuye’dan Village Art Project took place in 2007. Many artists were invited to participate in this project (Aung Myint, Aung Way, Cho Iwin, Kyee Myint, Moe Satt (1983–), Sann Oo, Than Htay Maung, Tun Win Aung (1975–), Wah Nu(1977–)). Since then, four more editions of the Village Art Project happened, in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2013. Nge Lay has participated in numerous solo and group show internationally. She took part in If The World Changed at the Singapore Biennale 2013, the 8th Asia Pacific Triennale of Contemporary Art (APT8) qgoma, Brisbane (2016), BAB Bangkok Art Biennale (2018) and the Children’s Biennale at the National Gallery Singapore (2019). She was shortlisted for the Sovereign Asian Art Prize 2020. Nge Lay’s work is in the collections of major public institutions, such as the Singapore Art Museum and the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum and QAGOMA, Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of modern Art.
(source INTERSECTIONS )