Art for Love’s Sake

San Yamin Aung The Irrawaddy

RANGOON — Aung Soe Min has been encouraging Rangoon’s lovebirds to consider a less tradition gift to mark Valentine’s Day this year.

“Giving a painting as a Valentine’s Day present is another option for couples instead of giving a bouquet of flowers or chocolates. Despite lacking any text, it will tell many words for a long time,” says Aung Soe Min, owner of the Pansodan Scene.

To facilitate this, he put about 70 paintings on display and up for purchase in the two-day “Valentine’s Day Love Art Show.”

“We present in this show how to combine two different shapes to be in harmony, symbolizing love, because generally people think that the things will not match when they have different shapes,” he said at his gallery, where a painting of two green, intertwined chili peppers hangs alongside an image of a couple of apples pressed against each other. Kissing apples, perhaps?

The paintings, about 10-inches-by-10-inches in size, range in price from 20,000 kyats (US$20) to 50,000 kyats. More than 20 paintings were sold on the first day in two-day art show.

The “Valentine’s Day Love Art Show” wraps up today on Pansodan Street in Rangoon’s Kyauktada Township, where a book fair is jointly being held. The “History and Traditional Book Fair” was organized in celebration of Gen. Aung San’s 99th birthday, which was on Thursday.

“Three bookshop owners are showing their rare and special books about history and tradition in this book fair,” Aung Soe Min said.

Hla Min Aung, owner of the New Vision book and media shop in Kyauktada Township, said about 1,500 books on history and cultural traditions, both local and international, are on display.

“The earliest books that I have showing in this book fair are from the 1800s,” he said.

Books such as “Burmese Folk Songs,” and traditional tomes from the country’s Kachin, Arakanese, Mon, Shan and others ethnic groups, can be purchased at the book fair, along with historical accounts from the late 1800s.

“If we don’t know the history and traditions of society, we can’t know what went wrong, what we lost, how we improved, so we can’t take lessons from the past and we can’t see the truth,” he said.

“History and tradition are the most important foundations of a society.”