PanSuriya Art Post

Art makes experience visible

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.


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!

Soe Naing featured at Brighton

The World Art collection at Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove, which has some paintings by Soe Naing, featured his paintings on their blog recently. Click on the link above to go to their slideshow and entry by Sarah Cook:

”Soe Naing’s use of vivid colours and visible brushstrokes invest his paintings with a real sense of energy and spontaneity. Amongst these brightly-coloured brushstrokes he also creates inky, black, calligraphic marks which give the impression of facial features, claws, ears, talons and tongues. Along with colour you can see that the expressive quality of line is important to Soe Naing. Every brushstroke is applied with a sense of urgency”

Read a little more about Soe Naing here and at his page on Yadanapura. Paintings by Soe Naing are available from Sa Sa Bassac in Phnom Penh, from Callie Enlow in the US (and on-line), in London (contact us), and in wonderful quantities in Yangon, at Pansodan Gallery.

Insert Title Here : 10-15 Dec 2010

Never trapped in the moment. Continually changing and seeking. Continually challenging and redefining. Continually shifting and questioning. We all slip along time into the future, revising our conceptions and refining our perceptions.

This exhibition of contemporary art is an invition to re-interpretation. On display is a selection of paintings and multi-media works to explore — new aesthetics, emerging meanings, new generation — to bring you to diverse vantage points from which to re-evaluate your impressions.

Come to the exhibit and free your mind into the art as the artists have freed their inspiration. Some will reveal meanings, some will confound. You may choose to assign a title — but you may find yourself taking it away again, refining, questioning, seeking.

Featuring thirty artists working in a variety of media, on display from 10 – 15 December 2010, from 10 to 18:00 at Pansodan Gallery, No. 286 Pansodan Street, upper block, Yangon



The new exhibition starts today — a great variety of watercolours. Open until 28 February, from 10.00 to 18.00.

Pansodan Gallery itself has recently shown itself to be waterproof and smokeproof — it came through a fire in the building without damage to the many artworks displayed and stored on the premises. There was some damage to the rooms, but none to the art.

With thanks to the firefighters.

nats and vahanas

“It is only when you are eager to paint, and are free of grief and greed, healthy, and with the mind at peace, that you are in the frame of mind to accept uncertainty.” -Soe Naing

The Soe Naing and Chath Piersath exhibtion at the French Cultural Centre in Phnom Penh has closed. Many thanks to Erin Gleeson for making it happen. You can read about the painter in this article by Douglas Long in the Phnom Penh Post: Myanmar painter uses canvas to open gateway into the spirit world.

A quote from the article:

The paintings are rendered in thick dollops and sweeping swathes of paint that are placed on the canvas with a palette knife rather than a brush. Seeing the grain of the strokes, it is easy to visualise the artist’s vigorous gestures as he worked. The colours are often fresh and cheerful, standing in opposition to any sense of pessimism.

One visitor from Myanmar who viewed the exhibition last week said the colours were vivid enough to evoke more than just the visual experience of the nat pwe.

“When I see these paintings I hear the music of the nat pwe. I think [Soe Naing] expresses sounds through bright colours,” said Aye Sapay Pyu, on a month-long visit to Phnom Penh.

The nat pwe act as a gateway to the spirit world, and the figures are clearly from a place that is not our own, a realm populated by hermaphrodites, humanoid figures bearing sword-like weapons, and in one instance a horse and rider galloping across a black void.

The source of the otherworldly quality of these paintings is best explained by Soe Naing himself. Although he doesn’t claim to be channelling nats while he paints, he admits that the creative process is akin to being possessed by a spirit not beholden to the dictates of reason.

“Nats are in a state of trance;I am too, and so are my little humans. Nats are dynamic. I am in motion, too. so are my little humans,” he said.

Here is more about his thought and work on Yadanapura. An in-depth interview with him should be coming out in about a week, I will link to it here when it is online.

Here you can find an essay about him: A volcano exploding inside; a glacier flowing smoothly.

More works on paper can be viewed here. Contact us through the comments for availability and prices.

OM : bagyi aung soe & others

“Do not think the small number zero unworthy, insignificant, and unimportant.”
Bagyi Aung Soe (1924-90)

Bagyi Aung Soe was a pioneer of modern art in Burma. He drew and painted in a wide variety of styles and media. His illustrations for books and magazines were familiar to a large public.

After coming back from a year at Rabindranath Tagore’s Śāntiniketan, he is credited with the first abstract painting in Burma, an illustration published in Shumawa magazine in early 1953. It was highly controversial at the time, with some people saying that Bagyi Aung Soe was mad. But he had a supreme confidence in what he was doing, and continued to explore wherever his freedom took him.

His work, which often incorporates text into drawings, continued to impress with its intelligence and originality.

You can find more of his work and thought at this excellent website:

And you can find an article on him, with 20 good-quality reproductions of his work here:

Here is his book စာမဲ့ကဗျာ (Poetry without words), an e-book which unfortunately has low-resolution images.

Best of all you will see his work in person if you can make your way to Pansodan Gallery between 7 – 13 December. Bagyi Aung Soe’s work will be accompanied by the work of 16 other modern artists:
Aung Myint, Ba Htay Kyi, Dawei Lay, Eikaza Cho, Kin Maung Yin, Ko Ko Naing, Lynn Wunna, Maung Di, Minn Zaw, Moat Thone, Myint Soe, Nay Myo Say, Nyein Chang Su, Rahula, Soe Naing, Zaw Mong