Paintings for Peace

By Wei Yan Aung 3 July 2017

Myanmar and Korea are different in many ways but they both share a longing for peace. In the 70 years since it gained independence from Britain in 1948, peace among ethnic groups has eluded Myanmar. Since the 1950s, when an uneasy truce was reached between north and south Koreas, peaceful reunification of the peninsula has as yet proved impossible.

Myanmar and Korea’s shared desire for peace is on display in an exhibition showcasing works of pacifism from the two countries at New Treasure Art Gallery on Thalwin Street, Golden Hill Avenue in Yangon’s Bahan Township.

The exhibition titled “Platform of Peace” is the second edition of the Korea-Myanmar art exhibition and features works by ten Myanmar and ten Korean artists and sculptors.

Over 40 works by Korean and Myanmar artists are on display at the exhibition, which continues until Thursday.

The first edition was held in 2015 to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Myanmar and South Korea.

2017 is a year of cultural exchange between Asean countries and South Korea. Park Taehong, director of co-organizer Artistic Asia, said: “Korea has north and south Koreas. They are divided and have not achieved peace. And Myanmar is also working for peace. When we look at the similarities between the two countries, we found peace. So, we gave the title ‘Platform of the Peace.’”

Myanmar artist Moe Nyo sugested there should be more similar exhibitions. “For many people living here it will be very beneficial,” he said.

“Marble Stone” by Chan Aye. (Photo: Myo Min Soe/The Irrawaddy)

A sculpture made of stone and silicone sits at the entrance of the exhibition hall. Sculptor Chan Aye explained, “I try to combine two opposite things—soft silicone and hard stone—hoping that this would create some beauty.”

“Stainless Steel” by Pyo Insook (2009). (Photo: Myo Min Soe/The Irrawaddy)

Near Chan Aye’s work is a simple, but attractive display titled “Stainless Steel” by modern Korean sculptor Pyo Insook. He said of his duck-shaped structure: “People kill and eat such a beautiful creature. So I felt pity and created this duck-shaped steel sculpture.”

“Kachin Dance” by Pe Nyut Way (2017). (Photo: Myo Min Soe/The Irrawaddy)

Myanmar artist Pe Nyint Wai showcases two paintings exploring unity and friendship—one shows a traditional Manaw dance of the ethnic Kachin People and another depicts people playing with Myanmar’s traditional cane ball.

“Old Jar” by Choi Sukun (2008). (Photo: Myo Min Soe/The Irrawaddy)

Another highlight is Korean artist Choi Sukun’s painting titled “Old Jar” featuring a dog and a pig.

He told The Irrawaddy that traditional circular jars remind him of the moon and the moon’s cold light gives a sense of peace.

Works on display at the exhibition are priced between US$100 and $3,000 with 50 percent of the proceeds being used to repair schools and roads in Myanmar through Artistic Asia, according to exhibition organizer of Min Wai Aung.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.