RANGOON — A month-long festival celebrating culture and heritage kicked off in Rangoon on Sunday, with city-wide events showcasing the architecture, food, craftsmanship and people of Burma’s former capital. The first ever Yangon Art and Heritage Festival, themed “My Yangon My Home,” will run from March 1 to 22 at various locations throughout the city. Opening day was marked with a concert in downtown’s Mahabandoola Park, as well as a poster-painting competition and art installations on city buses reflecting the lives and experiences of commuters. Organized by the British Embassy in Rangoon and curated by Burmese artist Htein Lin and two international collaborators, Diana Valarezo, and Jose Abad Lorente. The events are meant to raise awareness and enjoyment of all the things that make Rangoon unique, Htein Lin said. [irrawaddy_gallery] “This festival is about the art and heritage of Yangon [Rangoon]; the buildings, foods and people. The main point is to raise awareness and to introduce these arts to the community,” Htein Lin told The Irrawaddy. “All residents can join in, the festival takes many forms.” As opening day drew to a close, British Ambassador to Burma Andrew Patrick led a group of about 20 people on a “Yangon Art Route Tour,” chauffeuring them through a trail of arts venues in the city’s historic downtown area. Thet Htar Su, 18, came along for the walk. She Told The Irrawaddy that she had never experienced her hometown in quite the same way. “Through this tour, I could see the entire heritage of my native town,” she said. “I learned about images from the city’s past, and the history of some of the buildings and the 88 revolution.” My Yangon My Home will continue throughout the month with food-related events, video screenings, sound installations, a photography contest, a cartoon exhibition, traditional Burmese puppet performances and more. For more information about upcoming events please visit the My Yangon My Home website or Facebook page.
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