Zarni Mann
[gallery type="slideshow" ids="105876,105875,105874,105872,105873,105870,105871,105869,105868,105867,105866"] MANDALAY — On Tuesday, the day of his 86th birthday, veteran Mandalay artist Aye Myint launched a showcase of his traditional Burmese designs at Mandalay Hill Art Gallery, attracting both fresh and more seasoned artists and art goers. The gallery, opposite the hill’s famous figure of two white lions, was filled with colorful pieces by the artist, mostly featuring scenes from the Jataka tales. Accompanying the artwork were frames embedded with images of Burma’s currency and stamps adorned with pictures of the late General Aung San, some of which were designed by Aye Myint in the 1970s. Aye Myint is widely known for his old-fashioned designs, as his work is largely inspired by styles found in ancient stone carvings and murals dating back to the sixth century. After being expelled from Magwe Division’s Wazi, site of Burma’s national mint, Aye Myint moved to Rangoon to take up a job designing for a Buddhist literary magazine. Most of his artwork from this 11-year period was also on display to show milestones in his career. Today, at 86, Aye Myint has held onto his enthusiasm for designing—he is currently a consultant for a traditional weaving academy in Amarapura, Mandalay Division, and helps with the restoration efforts of the ancient Shwe Nan Daw Palace Monastery. Perhaps above all, the venerated artist’s wish for young people is to carry on learning about traditional Burmese art, even in the face of rapid cultural change. “We’re witnessing developments in many sectors, in culture as well. I want Burma’s youth to know the value of our heritage,” Aye Myint said. “We should preserve our culture.” Aye Myint’s exhibition will run at the Mandalay Hill Art Gallery, open from 9am to 9pm, until Feb. 6, and it is free of charge to anyone wishing to enjoy traditional Burmese art.

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