YANGON — People may leave their watches, wallets and cell phones at home when they go out, but they never forget to wear shoes. However, only a few people are aware of the benefits of shoes. Nyan Ye Naing is one of them.
The 25-year-old artist is a shoe collector. “I started to draw shoes because I love the colors. Then I got addicted to shoes as I drew them,” said Nyan Ye Naing, who describes shoes as a protective shield for humans. “Whether you walk on hot ground or cold ground, shoes protect us,” he said.
Nyan Ye Naing is showcasing his third solo exhibition at the Bo Aung Kyaw Street Art Gallery from Saturday through to Jan. 17.
One of the paintings going on display is of three pairs of shoes representing a family. “I used cold colors and avoided warm colors and drew school bags and money on the father’s shoes,” he said.
His passion for shoes is not limited to drawing them. He reads about shoes in books and on the internet. And he never hesitates to take photos of shoes whenever he sees any that fascinate him.
“I remember that once I went to a monastery to attend a donation ceremony. There I saw dozens of shoes placed outside the monastery building. I couldn’t help taking photo of those shoes, one after another,” he recalled. “People gaped at me with surprise. But I was quite happy. I saw a lot of shoes to draw.”
The exhibition showcases over 30 watercolor, lead and acrylic paintings as well as some of the shoes and slippers he used as models. The paintings will be on sale for between $50 and $300.
“People wear and use them daily, yet no one really values them. They take you wherever you want to go. I just want to make people aware of their value,” Nyan Ye Naing said.
“Not only shoes. There are many other things that benefit people. If you become more aware of them, you will value them more,” he added.
Nyan Ye Naing, who began his career drawing on the walls of hotels and restaurants, has one big dream — to resurrect murals, which flourished during the Bagan Period.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.