Veteran Modernist’s Striking Experiment in Nudes

By Wei Yan Aung 16 October 2018

YANGON—To his third solo art exhibition, Aung Win has brought a subject completely different from his previous shows.

Aung Win made his name as an artist for his paintings of Kyaukse elephant dancers, but this time, nude damsels have provided the 69-year-old artist with an inspiration.

Entitled Samudaya Saccā, which is the name of one of the Four Noble Truths in Buddhism and can be translated as “the truth of the origin of suffering,” Aung Win’s solo show features young rural women in the nude.

“I experimented with a new subject and then continued it as I enjoyed it,” said Aung Win who focused on lines in these nude paintings.

In his famed paintings depicting the elephant dance festival, Aung Win tended to use vibrant colors, but in his new series, he draws in more muted colors with marked tones.

“His human figures are as unique as his elephants. His love and respect for and his trust in his style, as well as his boldness and decisiveness, are reflected in his paintings,” said veteran artist U Win Pe.

The exhibition at Nawaday Tharlar Art Gallery features 15 acrylic paintings and will continue to be held there through Friday.

Born in Kyaukse, Aung Win is a graduate of Mandalay State School of Fine Arts and joined Myanmar’s modernism movement in the 1970s.

“People have known Aung Win in connection with the elephant dance, but now he has drawn a totally different subject with new ideas and new creations. And I like it very much. At his age, it is quite hard to create a totally different subject without courage. I like his courage to change,” said curator Ko Pyae Wai.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko