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.

lokanat : new year’s peace
28 December 2009, 03:53
Filed under: exhibit | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Lokanat is known in Myanmar as the guardian spirit of the world. In Sanskrit, the name is Avalokiteśvara. In Thailand, he is worshiped as Lokesvara. In the Tibetan sphere, the spirit is known as Chenrezig, and the Dalai Lama is an emanation of this spirit. In the Japanese and Chinese spheres, the spirit is Kannon and Kuanyin.

The story of the Lokanat is very different in the various traditions. In the Burmese one, the King of the Lions and the King of the Elephants fought. They were fighting furiously, without regard for the damage they were wreaking all around them. The Lokanat realised that if they were not stopped, the world would suffer much destruction, so he began playing music with the cymbals he held in his feet.

His performance was so enrapturing that the fighters stopped to watch, and lost the desire to fight. With such gentle means, he prevented the destruction of the world. Thus the Lokanat is the symbol of the power of art, and of love and peace. He is one of the favourite subjects for Burmese painters.

Learn more about Lokanat here:
Loka Nat Worship in Myanmar
Buddhist Door (compilation of sources)

Pansodan Gallery is hosting an exhibition of recent interpretations of Lokanat, beginning the new year by honouring the Lokanat’s act of peace. Opening on 1 January, continuing until 7 January. All are invited to enjoy the artist’s inspirations.

coming Art and Ideas talks


Three people are preparing Art and Ideas talks for the next months. On Sunday 15 March, Alexandra Green will talk about Burmese and Lanna temple paintings (talk description coming soon). You can read up on Pagan at this site:

We will then have another talk toward the art side of art and ideas: Jacqueline Suter will speak about buried social commentary in modern Burmese art. Back in the ideas direction, Bryce Beemer will talk about Siamese war captives in Burman capitals. That will take us up to Songkran, and perhaps beyond. When possible, talks will take place on Sunday evenings.

Boat race

Boat race

A few writers have also agreed (or half agreed) to give talks, but their dates are yet uncertain.
Thanks to 72Studio, Chiang Mai for image processing.