Filed under: exhibit | Tags: candacee white, gallery, pansodan, solo show, Yangon
“I decide whether I want it to be
smooth, fluid, sharp.
But it creates itself,
I’m just along to help out.”
Candacee White is about to have her first independent exhibition, at Pansodan Art Gallery. Candacee began to think of herself as an artist when she began painting abstracts — it was in discovering how an image or idea could remain meaningful and intense while being greatly abstracted that she gained the insight. She has been influenced by Brice Marden, among others. She explains, “I often stare at one line for a long time before I put down the next one, considering how it will relate the past and future lines, how close to the edge of the canvas, and so on. I like to let the line change, to get light, dark, thicker, thinner, which appears more natural.”
She tries to keep her lines alive, vibrant. “The line alone is beautiful and compelling, but I can never resist seeing the change that happens when I fill in the spaces.”
She aims to give a sense of disorder at the same time. “I seek control over the composition, even the small spaces. I enjoy repetitious detail — the painting begs for it, balancing out with the less ordered parts.”
She believes (along with Robert Rauschenberg) that all the possibilities are and limitations are within the materials themselves. “I like to try similar images on different materials, paper, cardboard, tile, canvas, with pastels, inks, paints, etc.” Once she did not have any canvas or paper at home, but had an old box which she started drawing on. She often creates pairs of warm and cool works, or larger groups with varied media.
A number of particularly unusual and lively pieces are made with stickers. This is the first time Candacee has worked with stickers. The original intention was to cut out shapes like faces, words, designs. She in fact did this before discovering that the remnants were much more interesting than the images she had cut out. Most of the deliberate images are now gathering dust, while the scraps have been composed on long strips of paper, much more beautiful and intriguing than what she had first intended to make. The mind continually plays with the shapes and colours, shifting between the overall balance, the whitespace, the coloured shapes, and one’s own imagination.
All of Candacee’s works bring in the viewer as a participant in her art. The balance and order has to be created between the observer and the picture as well,
and the pictures take a while to settle into place in the mind. As the eyes wander around the new bit of landscape she has made for them, exploratory impulses arise.
We will indulge these impulses at the gallery with a supply of stickers and scissors, and the walls of our staircase. Come and leave your mark, balancing or imbalancing. Candacee White’s exhibition will run from 29 March to 3 April at Pansodan Art Gallery, from 10:00 – 6:00; the pictures will be up all day on Friday, 29 March, and a reception will begin at 6pm. On that evening we also have a jam session with US bluegrass band Horseshoe Road on the roof, starting at 5:30. Bring your instrument or voice, or just your ears.
On Tuesday 2 April, we will be open very late.
Bagyi Aung Soe has been called the country’s most wayward painter.
While there is ongoing competition for that title, he may still be the top. His influence is still felt strongly today. In this exhibition, we have some of his original works, portraits of him, paintings in homage to him, and others showing his legacy.
From 22-25 March 2013 at Pansodan Art Gallery, 286 Pansodan, first floor (upper block) Kyauktada, Yangon.
Highly original, fond of mixing text in his paintings, controversial in his day but recognised by later generations. A short exhibition of a long legacy.
Filed under: art conversation, exhibit | Tags: artist, burma, burmese, myanmar, painter, painting, pansodan, Pansodan Art Gallery, thu rein m, thu rein sann, thu rein.ms, Thurein M, Yangon
In this exhibition, Thu Rein is showing off two series of paintings — some are a straightforward and lovely realism, some are a fresh take which gives an impression of cubism while in fact maintaining a realist approach.
The painter Thu Rein (who sometimes signs himself Thu Rein.M, sometimes Thu Rein Sann, sometimes Thu Rein.MS) began a self-portrait, reflected in the mirror-mosaic of a pagoda wall, seven years ago (see image below). It took him many visits to pagodas, looking at mirrored tiles until he was dizzy before he got the colours, images, shapes and impression he was looking for.
This was the beginning of a series of images shown in the fragments silvery tiles which adorn many pagoda walls. In News Hunter (centre painting in this blog’s header) he depicts parts of a face reflected in a pattern of mirrors, with a camera at the centre, half-hidden behind green leaves, and with the gilded embellishments and other elements of a monastery all around and overlapping the hunter.
He travelled around the country, to Magway, Minbu, Pyinmana and many other places, where he painted whatever caught his eye reflected in the mirrored surfaces. In the painting of the brass Buddha image from Pyinmana, little other than the sheen and colour is reflected. In another, titled Two Friends (see image below), hardly any of the faces of the friends shows, subsumed by the reflections of gold, brass, and the colours of their shirts. The Faceless is another of this series, in which a fragmented person with hints of hair and hand is outdone by his surroundings.
The other series is of the twilight over the Bazundaung River, which shapes and divides the eastern side of Yangon. Views of the city from Thaketa and Thingangyun neighbourhoods, or from Bazundaung itself show the rich colours of dusk. He became entranced by the colours of the sunsets, the fiery sky reflected in the water. Many of the paintings are anchored by the Shwe Dagon, which from that side soars above the town. Another is painting in a bit of North Okkalappa, along the same waterway. In this one, the pagoda popularly called ‘Yangon Thabyinnyu’ and the bank of the river with modest huts make the scene look like a little piece of Bagan, but with a hulk of a building on the horizon where the hills might be in the ancient capital.
A few plein air pictures with other themes round out the exhibition which will be showing until 13 March 2013, at Pansodan Art Gallery, from 10-6 (open until late on Tuesday).
Interview with Nance Cunningham in Pansodan Art Gallery, 11 March 2013
Filed under: exhibit | Tags: Art, bagi aung soe, bagyi aung soe, burmese, myanmar, painting, pangyi aung soe, pansodan, Yangon
Bagyi Aung Soe blew the Burmese art world’s mind open with the freedom of his mind. An exhibition honouring his work starts in the expanded Pansodan space, near Maha Bandoola. The staircase just north of Maha Bandoola on Pansodan, second floor.
Filed under: exhibit | Tags: Ali Drummond, documentary, Henry Kingsford, James Holman, pansodan, Pansodan Art Gallery, skateboarders of yangon, Yangon, youth of yangon
Pansodan Gallery has been bursting at the seams for some time. We are going to add a new room — a block and a half down Pansodan, toward the river, on the east side of the street (just like Pansodan Original).
The first exhibition in that space opens to the public today. There are photographic portraits by Henry Kingsford, plus a documentary short directed by James Holman, screening at seven thirty each evening. A new view of the city we love.
The aim of this event is to shine a light on the Burmese skateboarding community, highlighting how despite not being supported by anyone the Burmese skateboarders continue to try and skate together and be a creative community in Yangon. This overcoming of adversity is ever more poignant with the demolition of Thuwanna skate last year (which had been the centre and place of refuge for the skaters for the last 15 years) and more recently the complete abandonment of the City Center skatepark by the current manager of the shopping mall next to the the skatepark, and who—until recently—was responsible for both the mall and the skatepark.
We do not have a sign up yet at the new place, but you can find it by looking. It is at N° 144, on the second floor, up the staircase nearest Maha Bandoola. Look for the large poster competing with many smaller ones. The venue opens at five in the evening; “Youth of Yangon” documentary screening daily at half past seven. Closing at eight. The site is Pansodan Street, middle block, up the staircase nearest Maha Bandoola. It is on the second floor.
We will be renovating the space soon, but for now it is pretty much as it was in 1969, just a little worn but full of possibility.
Filed under: exhibit | Tags: architecture, buildings, burma, cambodia, david richards, heritage, pansodan gallery, Yangon
David Richards started this project painting archtectural heritage in South-east Asia several years ago in Cambodia for an exhibition which celebrated the architectural heritage of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The success of that show gave him the interest in continuing in other countries. Although the buildings of the colonial period are fast being pulled down in Yangon, there is at least some effort to save it, where in the other countries there is little interest in the well-designed, lovely, and practical old buildings. While it is not at all sure that the atmosphere of the neighbourhoods where they remain will be rescued, at least there is some hope and interest. The architecture is an integral part of the urban landscape, and it is important to save it from destruction.
“Usually it is a building’s look of having been around for a long time that attracts me at first. I hope to raise the awareness of the value of these buildings, so it will spread through the society, and help preserve them. I focus on the buildings that look like they are being neglected.” The first one that he was attracted to in April was the Secretariat, which had broken windows, loose roofing, and so many different aspects from different angles. He sought out a photograph of the building before the earthquake of 1931, and painted it with the dome and spires that had been removed because of quake damage.
Richards appreciates buildings with human touch. “Modern buildings are all sharp and angular and box-like. The old ones are more like curved shapes you find in nature.” One aspect of Yangon he particularly appreciates is the varied backgrounds of the buildings. Along with buildings designed by Burmans and British, which you would expect to find, there is Islamic architecture, Indian-style design, Chinese buildings.
I am hoping that when people look at these paintings, I think they will first notice the beauty of it. But I hope it will inspire them to get involved in keeping these buildings in use. Maybe others will be inspired to do entirely different projects, depending on what their interest is, but I hope it will lead to good results in any field.
Read more about him here.
The exhibition runs from 16-20 October, at Pansodan Gallery, open from 10-6 daily.
286 Pansodan, first floor (upper block)
Mobile: 0951 30846
Filed under: art and ideas | Tags: Amir Muhammad, documentarian, filmmaker, Institute of Alternative Histories and Popular Culture, Malaysia, pansodan gallery, Rangoon, Yangon
Pansodan Gallery is pleased to host Amir Muhammad for an afternoon of conversation, thanks to the Institute of Alternative Histories and Popular Culture. Amir Muhammad is a clever writer and witty independent filmmaker based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He has had a had an extraordinary career, which he will discuss on Sunday afternoon. Two of his films, Apa Khabar Orang Kampung (Village People’s Radio Show) and The Last Communist have been banned in Malaysia; others were never submitted to censorship, and so have never been released publicly. They have titles like The Year of Living Vicariously and The Big Durian.
His works have featured in international film festivals including the Sundance Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival, and a full retrospective of his work was screened at the 2008 Pesaro Film Festival, Italy. He is a partner at Da Huang Pictures.
He was born in Kuala Lumpur and was educated in law at the University of East Anglia. He has been writing for Malaysian print media since the age of 14, notably the New Straits Times. He notes that this says more about the standard of journalism in Malaysia than about his writing skills.
He has been taking a break from filmmaking for the past five years, and started publishing non-fiction books in under his company Matahari Books. He has written several books, including Yasmin Ahmad‘s Films (2009), Rojak (ZI Publications, 2010), 120 Malay Movies (2010), Malaysian Politicians Say the Darndest Things series (Matahari Books).
The talk will take place in the extension space, at 4 o’clock.
270 Pansodan, third floor (upper block)
Kyauktada, Yangon. Mobile: 0951 30846
Contacts: Phyo Win Latt 095172795, Aung Soe Min 095130846
Filed under: exhibit | Tags: စိုးနိုင်, ပန်းဆိုးတန်း, British Council, Delia Maria Davila, Images of conflict, impressions of peace, pansodan, Pansodan Art Gallery, soe naing, Yangon
Images of Conflict, Impressions of Peace, a collaboration of Pansodan with the British Council, begins today at the British Council in Yangon. [Results are now online.]
The new stakes in Myanmar in 2012 bring new opportunities, and the changing context calls for a multifaceted approach to understanding conflict and creating a platform for peace. The peace processes in Myanmar have become a public issue. Thus the entire citizenry should be included in building a just and sustainable peace. Creating peace should not be the rôle of the élite alone; any thoughtful person can explore ways to approach conflict and violence, and create initiatives for peace.
Pansodan Art Gallery is participating by initiating a project which seeks to assist in understanding conflict and developing cultural approaches to peace, and to create culturally appropriate interventions and strategies. We are very happy to welcome Guatemalan artist and activist Delia Maria Davila is bringing her experience to Burma for this time, which has turned into an even more conflict-filled time than anticipated when the programme was conceived.
Visual arts can be a powerful vehicle for dialogue on and transmission of personal experiences and stories, while also creating an open space for interaction for communities to freely interact and express their concerns and experiences, especially in fragile situations Myanmar is now facing. Art makes experience visible.
Sound too abstract? Stop by Pansodan Art Gallery to join the conversation.
Filed under: info | Tags: art scene, Aung Soe Min, ကိုချို, ဧကဇာချို, burma, economy, Eikaza Cho, Esmer Golluoglu, Guardian, IMAA, Independent Myanmar Artist Association, Independent Myanmar Artists Alliance, lawkanat, lokanat, Pansodan Art Gallery, pansodan gallery, Rangoon, Richard Texier, Yangon
A recent article in The Guardian included Pansodan co-owner Aung Soe Min’s comments. He is in there as one of the ‘winners’ in the changing business environment.
Here’s to hopes that almost all the winners are Burmese, or at least that benefits are fairly divided among those who sincerely work hard for the success of an enterprise — and not ‘fairly’ in the sense of ‘they are poor so they get only a poor share and should be glad of it; we are rich so we are the ones who get the money’.
There has been plenty of research on quality of life that shows that it depends on the perception of having a meaning or purpose to one’s life, and a warm social life with friends and family. Yet, when it comes to development, it is all about money. There is even a new trend to look at migration as something entirely positive as a development process — people migrate to Dubai or Australia or wherever, earn vastly more (i.e., are vastly more productive in economics terms), send remittances home, and thus are creators of development. True enough in pure economics terms, but this ignores the sacrifices that the migrants are making in non-economic factors, and the loss of social capital in their home community. (I am a migrant myself, so obviously not against migration, but I do not like to see it portrayed in black-and-white terms.) We know migrants who are important artists in various fields in Burma, but as migrants work in factories or do other work entirely unrelated to their talents. Those of us remaining behind, who appreciated their art regret this change in the meaning of their lives.
Pansodan’s contribution to improve the life or artists in their own country is the Independent Myanmar Artist Alliance, mentioned in the Guardian article. It was the idea of Aung Soe Min, and is hosted by Pansodan Gallery. It is a new model of professional association — somewhat like a union, but without most of the bureaucracy and positions that, no matter how noble the initial ideas, later tend to be used for obstruction and gain, or simply to lose their dynamism.
Filed under: food | Tags: နဂါးပျံ, ရေနွေးကြမ်း, လက်ဖက်, လက်ဖက်ရည်, black tea, Burmese milk tea, burmese tea, Keng Tung, Kyaing Tung, Modern Teashop, Naga Pyan, oolong tea, shan tea, Tamwe, tea, Yangon
I see that a number of people have arrived here searching for Burmese tea. So here is my suggestion for making Burmese tea when your nearest teashop is just too far away. This is about tea to drink (လက်ဖက်ရည်၊ ရေနွေး) but there is a bit about tea leaf salad (လက်ဖက်သုပ်) toward the end.
First of all, there is no perfect substitute for black tea from Burma. It is some of the best black tea in the world, dark and rich, with a slight smokiness. If you are buying tea before leaving Yangon, I recommend buying the excellent, slightly chocolatey tea of Modern Teashop in Tamwe, where they’ll sell it to you by the pound, for much, much less than the price of gold. If you cannot make it to Modern, နဂါးပျံ Naga Pyan tea is also good, and comes in packages up to five pounds and is available all around the country. In Yangon, you could stop by their office at 188 Konzaydan, phone 240 646, 385798. Teashops which use this tea often have a sign with the tea brand on it, and you might do well to ask their assistance in ordering, or see if they have a bag they can sell you. Otherwise, you can get Soe Win tea in some shops.
If you can’t get Burmese tea, then use a strong malty Assam, like you can get from The Teacup in Seattle or Murchies. You will also need sweetened condensed milk and whole or condensed milk. (See comments section for links to some Burmese online shops.)
Ideally, put about a good tablespoon of the tea per cup, plus a pinch of oolong tea in the pot, and a very small amount of salt in cold water, and bring to a boil. Boil briefly, and then keep on very low heat, below the simmering point, or let steep for as long as you can wait, but at least 20 minutes. (A rice cooker with a ‘warm’ setting is very useful.) In some teashops, they leave the kettle on a low charcoal fire overnight.
When you pour out the tea, it should look as dark as good coffee. Put in about 20% warmed whole milk (in Burma, they use only evaporated milk, so you like that stuff, take your chance to use it here), and sweetened condensed milk to taste. Note how much you use, because of course it is best to put the sweetened condensed milk in first, and then stir in such a way to leave a small amount at the bottom of the cup, to be the dessert of the tea.
The quality of oolong tea from Burma is highly variable. (In Burma, most people call this green or Chinese tea when speaking English, but it is grown mainly in Shan and Karen States, so is not Chinese, and is slightly fermented, so is not green tea. In Burmese it is called “hot water” or “coarse tea”.) Sometimes they add a small amount of another aromatic leaf which gives it a slightly popcorn-like flavour. This leaf is called လက်ဖက်မွှေး lahpe’ hmwe: in Burmese, and wai hom (fragrant leaf) in Shan.
My favourite oolong tea is grown and processed in a monastery at the edge of Keng Tung. To find the monastery, which is well-known for its sayadaw, Wasipei’ Sayadaw, as you are just passing the university, about to leave Keng Tung, look for a big tree on the left. Take the small road that goes by the tree, following it up the hill until you get to the monastery. You could walk there from the centre of Keng Tung in about 45 minutes. They have a tasting room with a gorgeous view, it makes an excellent outing in Keng Tung. The tea plantations were started by the sayadaw to help villages which had stopped growing opium, but had little to replace it with.
Pickled tea leaves have an odd flavour, it is is also pretty strange to be eating them with a heap of very hard accompaniments like lentils fried until they are crispy, and garlic chips. But one soon forgets how weird the ingredients are and stops speculating about how anyone first thought of making the dish, because it is so good. According to a book I have on the history of tea, only the Kachins and the Burmans eat tea leaves. Even the people who grow and pickle them in Shan State do so to sell them, and do not eat the dish, except as ‘foreign’ food. The quality of what you get in the thoroughly advertised Yuzana packets is not very good. The only way to get quality is to buy the tea and the mixed parts separately.
Mandalay is the best place to get the pickled tea. There you can get it in jars, which is probably a good way to carry it. Otherwise, what you get on the street is usually quite good — look for a natural greyish-green colour — if it is a a brighter dark green, it has been dyed. You will need to buy your crispy bits separately. The advantage of buying on the street or in a market is that you can sample a few, to see if you like the quality. I like the Kyaukpadaung ‘Twice fried’ (နှစ်ပြန်ကြော်) kind the best, but there is a light, delicate kind from Mandalay that includes pumpkin seeds which is particularly delicious.
To make it, mix peanut oil and a fair amount of salt into the tea leaves, and mix thoroughly with your hands. Then get some small cloves of garlic, small green chillies to taste, and if you like, cut in bits of (organic) lime, including the skin. You want small, thin-skinned limes. Mix thoroughly. I think it is delicious with pine nuts, though I have never seen it served this way in Burma.
If you cannot get peanut oil, too bad. Any oil with a bit of nutty flavour, like avocado oil, walnut oil, cold-press sunflower oil is better than a flavourless oil, like plain old vegetable oil. But sesame oil flavour is too strong, and some olive oils work with the tea, some clash with it, so if you have to use a flavourless oil, go ahead.
So, mix all the tea ingredients until they taste good, and then set that out on a plate with about one-third tea and two-thirds nuts, fried beans, sesame, etc. Eat it with a spoon, taking a bit of tea, and some of the rest.
Other variations are with ginger (though this is soaked in some solution to make it tender, not practical for home outside of Burma), grated cabbage, and/or thin tomato slices mixed with the tea (in which recipe you would be likely to leave out the lime).