Myanmar Hosts First Major Art Auction

By Lwin Mar Htun 24 October 2019

Yangon – In Myanmar, there are a lot of artists, art lovers and collectors but art auctions are rare.

The country’s biggest ever art auction, “The Unique Art Exhibition and Auction”, was held this week at the Novotel Yangon Max.

The exhibition was organized by the Myanmar Asia Art Connect in collaboration with the hotel, culminating in Tuesday’s auction dinner.

The exhibition opened to the public with 80 artworks by more than 40 artists. / Htet Wai

The exhibition displayed 80 paintings by more than 40 artists, including 21 artworks for the auction.

“Art auctions are rare in Myanmar and we want to support the art industry. That’s why we met all the artists and invited them to the exhibition and auction,” said Daw Thazin Ni, chief executive of Asia Art Connect.

“Some paintings at the auction were over 20 years old. Some of the artists have already passed away so their works increase in value. That’s why we called the exhibition ‘unique’.”

‘Hero’ by Zaw Win Pe, which topped the bidding at US$5,800 / Supplied

A total of 17 paintings, three sculptures and one T-shirt signed by their artists were up for auction with seven sold. The T-shirt got the lowest bid of US$500 and the painting “Hero” by Zaw Win Pe topped the bids with US$5,800.

In a video at the exhibition, Zaw Win Pe said: “It was painted in 1995 for the Military History Museum to mark the 50th anniversary of the armed forces. It was before Sayar San was executed. I painted Sayar San’s clothes using my imagination as I wanted. Then I found out they were the same as his actual clothes. This painting style is different from my other work and memorable and valuable to me.”

One of the exhibition’s sculptures / Htet Wai.

The artists whose work was in the auction were Lun Gywe, Zaw Win Pe, Khin Zaw Latt, Shwe Aung Thein, Aung Khin, Nyan Shein, Tin Aye from Mandalay, Hla Tin Htun, Maung Aw, Win Pe Myint, MT Oung, Bogie, Aung Thin Oo, Zaw Win Pe, Khin Zaw Latt, Soe Soe from Laputta and Patrick Robert, a French designer who lives in Myanmar.

Entry to the exhibition was free and the auction dinner cost US$99 per person, including the dinner and art catalogue.

“We will try to host more auctions to support the industry in Myanmar,” said Daw Thazin Ni.