RANGOON — The work of well-known local artist Nay Aung Shu will be on display at Rangoon’s Pansodan Scene this week, the latest offering as part of the gallery’s series of solo exhibitions.
Now in his mid-forties and having painted through an era of dictatorship to more recent, reformist times, Nay Aung Shu, who humbly describes himself as a man of the people, is drawn to portray his everyday environment in vivid detail.
Artistic talent runs in the blood, as Nay Aung Shu’s father, Khayay Myint Than, was also a renowned artist, as is one of his younger brothers. The former studied at the Yangon art school from 1992 to 1994.
Nay Aung Shu’s large acrylic works on canvass evoke the vibrant colors so often associated with Burma; warm, rich reds, yellows and greens dominate a wide mix of styles and approaches to his favored subject matter.
Many works have the feel of a street photographer’s perspective as expressed on canvas: passengers crowded into small taxi trucks, footpath markets, monks and everyday scenes at times depicted from unusual and surprising angles.
Both rural and city landscapes sit alongside distinctive ethnic portraits with occasional forays into more abstract design.
The exhibition includes a number of more intriguing works with subtle socio-political and historical motifs, no doubt resonating strongly with a local Burmese audience intimately familiar with the country’s tumultuous past.
Closer examination of several of these individual pieces reveals deeper political subtexts. Collages, which at first glance may seem part of a straightforward work, suddenly give way to a subtle collection of internally placed portraits, news cuttings and headlines in both English and Burmese text.
The material skillfully demonstrates varied perceptions of depth. In one work, the face of Burma’s president Thein Sein emerges on the back of a monk’s head, whilst other political figures, identified as being both from the establishment and the resistance movement, mingle with highly significant numbers and dates.
This is an exhibition well worth a visit and well suited to the open, spacious atmosphere of the Pansodan Scene Gallery.
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