PanSuriya Art Post


New developments

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.

A few new drawings of the Lokanat, spirit of peace through art, by Eikaza Cho.



inside/outside

The Inside/Outside exihibition was at the SateFL!GHT Gallery, 2332 S. Presa, in San Antonio, Texas in November 2011. It has now concluded, but some items are still available online.

In early 2011, Callie Enlow spent months teaching in Yangon, and — who wouldn’t? — succumbed to the fascination of the possibilities of the country. Many people feel for the people, but only a few choose to do something about it. Callie is one of those people. She took a route through art. She has carefully chosen paintings from eight artists and arranged an exhibition in San Antonio.

None of this art will make anyone think “That’s realistic, isn’t it!” But then, Burma does not make you think that either.

The art is wonderful, Callie is knowledgeable, and we hope that people will gather their friends, go there, admire the art, be drawn in more deeply, and deepen their understanding of our world, whether through talking to Callie, enjoying the art, or both.

A map showing the gallery is here.

More information about it can be found at this link, and thanks to SMART too!



brighton festival

A good article on the Burma-themed Brighton Festival was published in the Urban Times. The response to the Burmese contemporary art there was enthusiastic. One of the artists there is one of our favourites, Eikaza Cho.

“Before my brush touches the canvas, I don’t predetermine what I am going to paint.”

Ko Cho (Mr Cho), as he is known, has a particular use of colour, line and distortion which play out unpredictably in his exercise books and in paper work. Many of his works are fully abstract or feature recurrent motifs such as the owl, cat or figures from the spirit world such as the Lokanat, guardian spirit of the world.

About a dozen paintings are still in London. If you saw anything there that you are kicking yourself for not having bought, contact suriyagallery on gmail dot com.

Ben Mitchell designer, Zwe Yan Naing artist

See more of Ben Mitchell’s design and photography work on flickr and behance; see more of Zwe Yan Naing’s work here.

Ben Mitchell photographer, Eikaza Cho artist

See more about Eikaza Cho.



eikaza cho : boundless lines
10 March 2011, 02:08
Filed under: exhibit | Tags: , , ,

Sunday, 20 March 2011 is the last day this exhibition of Eikaza Cho’s work. In addition to his paintings, his notebooks will be on display for the first time. Ko Cho’s playful lines, varied subjects — how many artists paint a colourful fly? — and lively compositions are all evident in his notebooks. Come in from 10 to 6  for a peek at the works we love and a sampling of his new series.



Art Conversation : Eikaza Cho
5 March 2011, 08:12
Filed under: art conversation, exhibit | Tags: , , ,

Boundless Lines: The Notebooks of a Color Composer

Although Eikaza Cho is a very skilled artist with a broad portfolio of important works, some of the most striking examples of his creativity lie within a series of ordinary-looking school notebooks.  Upon looking into them, one realizes immediately that these are no ordinary school notebooks, but rather a glimpse into the aesthetic testing ground of a well-established force in Myanmar’s illustrator world.  A series of hybridizations of abstraction and cartoon, figures and fantasy, the contents of these notebooks is a glimpse into the creative day-in-day-out exercises and experimentations of a skilled illustrator.

“Before my brush touches the canvas, I don’t give any thought to what I am going to paint.”  With this in mind, the whimsical sketches contained within these notebooks are all the more interesting.  Upon recognizing the truly spontaneous and unconsidered lineage of these figments of Eikaza Cho’s imagination, one can see them as sort of “aesthetic aerobics” – beautiful byproducts of the daily honing of his creative ability, the stretching of his formidable creative muscle.

This is to say nothing of his canvas works, which will also be included.  Traces of influence in the form of Kandinsky and Miro can be seen in his renditions and re-interpretations of traditional Myanmar deities, animals, and legendary figures, although each is instilled with a unique twist of Eikaza Cho’s unique aesthetic sensibility.

Eikaza Cho’s notebooks will be part of an exhibition of his work at Pansodan Gallery, opening on 14 March.

By Zach Hyman

For more art conversations, click on the ‘art conversation’ tag at the top of this post.