When people talk about December, “sweet” is a common modifier. While Christmas and New Year contribute to the month’s significance in western countries, December is synonymous with freshness and vitality in Myanmar.
In the 1960s, a group of artists including M Tin Aye, U Ba Yin Lay, Yangon Ba Swe and U Min Naing – inspired by dewy December mornings – staged an art exhibition that they called ‘December Morning.’ For next few decades, they captured December mornings across the country, trying to embellish the month in vibrant colors.
After the death of those veteran artists, a younger generation of artists kept the exhibition alive year after year, capturing different scenes in different places.
“This exhibition is about wishing people a happy New Year,” said Ko Maung Kyaw Than, an artist who has participated in the exhibition for more than 30 years.
The artist, together with two younger artists Phay Than and Zaw Win Htoo, this year went to Shan State to capture colder mornings and misty mountains there.
“We went to Kalaw and Aungban. Visitors will be able to feel the cold December morning in our paintings of mountainous areas,” said Ko Maung Kyaw Than.
“This is the second time I’ve participated in this art exhibition. I’m more keen on portraits and my paintings at this exhibition are mostly portraits of Akha, Palaung and Shan ethnic women,” said Phay Than.
The exhibition, which runs through Monday at Moon Art Gallery on 35th Street in Yangon’s Kyauktada Township, features more than 70 paintings that can be purchased for between US$200 and $ 1,500.