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For Burma Artist, Painting is Poetry

Kyaw Phyo Tha The Irrawaddy

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RANGOON — He loves poetry. He paints with watercolor. So when artist Nay Sun from Mandalay decided to hold his second solo exhibition, it was no surprise that he chose to call it “Poem Written With Water.”

Nearly three dozen of his paintings are now on display at the Myanmar Ink Art Gallery in Rangoon, to mark the 50th anniversary of his start as a professional artist.

“For me, painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks,” the 66-year-old told The Irrawaddy, quoting the Greek philosopher Plutarch.

As the name of the exhibition suggests, each of the paintings on display are watercolor, and all are categorized roughly into three groups: landscape, still life and semi-abstract. Most of the works depict either rural scenes or urban life around Mandalay, where the artist lives.

“It doesn’t keep you busy, like using other paints, such as oil paints,” he says of the freedom and excitement of watercolor painting “But you have to be careful with the final touches. Even the last stroke can destroy the painting.”

He added, “If you’re successful, the feeling is really great.”

“Poem Written With Water”
Myanmar Ink Art Gallery
32/ 1, Alen Pya Pagoda Street. (In front of the ParkRoyal Hotel)
Open from Nov 1-7, 9 am to 6 pm