Arts

The Healing Power of Painting

By Wei Yan Aung 15 February 2019

YANGON—Not many people in Myanmar would swap a stethoscope for a brush. But Daw Khin May Kyi did just that, happily leaving behind a much-respected and well-paid career in the medical profession to become a full-time artist.

“If I had been close to the art sphere, I would have become an artist much earlier—in my youth. Only pencils and paintbrushes can give me pleasure now; I let go of the stethoscope. I served as a doctor for more than 40 years, and I loved that profession too,” said the doctor-turned-artist.

One of the works on show at ‘Beyond the Red Earth’, an exhibition of Daw Khin May Kyi’s paintings and drawings at Gallery 65 in Yangon that opens this week. / Supplied

At an exhibition later this month, the 66-year-old will showcase scenes of natural beauty she captured during her visit to see her children in Australia and on her travels across Myanmar.

Entitled “Beyond the Red Earth”, her fourth exhibition will open at Gallery 65 on Yaw Min Gyi Road in Yangon’s Dagon Township from Feb. 16-18.

One of the works on show at ‘Beyond the Red Earth’, an exhibition of Daw Khin May Kyi’s paintings and drawings at Gallery 65 in Yangon that opens this week. / Supplied

“I’d like to share my experiences about the places I’ve visited, and I’d like to highlight through paintings how developed Australia is,” the artist said.

Her paintings feature the grandeur of ancient churches and urban buildings, as well as peaceful rural scenes in Australia.

One of the works on show at ‘Beyond the Red Earth’, an exhibition of Daw Khin May Kyi’s paintings and drawings at Gallery 65 in Yangon that opens this week. / Supplied

Her brushwork also shines through her depictions of the Bagan and Mandalay cultural zones, rural landscapes and colonial-era buildings in Myanmar.

One of the works on show at ‘Beyond the Red Earth’, an exhibition of Daw Khin May Kyi’s paintings and drawings at Gallery 65 in Yangon that opens this week. / Supplied

 

“[In Australia] most of the heritage buildings can be preserved. Such buildings are hardly ever demolished [to build commercial structures]. And [Australian people] conserve the environment. I wish Myanmar was the same. There are many beautiful places in Myanmar. There are many beautiful places that are not yet known to outsiders,” she said.

 

One of the works on show at ‘Beyond the Red Earth’, an exhibition of Daw Khin May Kyi’s paintings and drawings at Gallery 65 in Yangon that opens this week. / Supplied

Over 30 watercolor and oil paints will be showcased at the exhibition, and can be purchased for between $80 and $600.

Daw Khin May Kyi previously held solo exhibitions in 2010, 2012 and 2015, and has also participated in group art exhibitions.

One of the works on show at ‘Beyond the Red Earth’, an exhibition of Daw Khin May Kyi’s paintings and drawings at Gallery 65 in Yangon that opens this week. / Supplied

Her paintings reflect her love of nature and Myanmar culture and traditions, and her rejoicing at others’ success and prosperity.

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