VL.png The World-Wide Web Virtual Library
[WWW VL database || WWW VL search]
donations.gif asia-wwwvl.gif

Online Burma/Myanmar Library

Full-Text Search | Database Search | What's New | Alphabetical List of Subjects | Main Library | Reading Room | Burma Press Summary

Home > Main Library > Society and Culture > Visual and Plastic Arts
Hide Links
Order links by: Reverse Date Title

Visual and Plastic Arts

  • The Art of Burma -- General studies

    Individual Documents

    Title: THE ART AND CULTURE OF BURMA (Table of Contents)
    Date of publication: 2002
    Description/subject: "The purpose of this on-line study-guide and course-outline is to make text and visual materials on the arts of Burma readily and inexpensively available, in particular to students and teachers. These materials assume college level reading skills so that the contents may be used for independent study courses, as a resource for teachers in secondary schools, as well as anyone interested in expanding and enriching their knowledge of the Arts and Cultures of Burma. Because the text is written for a general audience it does not contain the detail or footnotes that are found in scholarly publications. A select bibliography is provided at the end of each section for those who wish to pursue topics previously discussed. The illustrations are digitized from my own collection of color slides with the several exceptions are noted..." TOC: Overview: Purpose, Extended Contents, Acknowledgements, and Geographical Overview; Art History of Burma: Synoptic Overview; Chapter 1 - Prehistoric and Animist Periods c. 1100 BC to c. 200 AD: Paleolithic and Neolithic sites, Animism, and Karen Bronze Drums; Chapter 2 - The Pre-Pagan Period: The Urban Age of the Mon and the Pyu c.200 to c.800 AD: Mon and Pyu City states: Thaton, Beikthano, Halin, and Srikshetra; Chapter 3 - the Pagan Period c. 800 AD to 1287 AD; Part 1 - Introduction and City Plan of Pagan; Part 2 - Architecture 1 - General Characteristics and Stupas; Part 3 - Architecture 2 - Temples and Monasteries Part 4 - Sculpture, Conclusion, and Bibliography; Chapter 4 - The Post Pagan Period; Part 1 - Introduction and the Ava Period; Part 2 - The Konbaung Period: Amarapura; Part 3 - Mandalay Period; Special Section: 80 Scenes of the Life of Buddha.
    Author/creator: Richard M. Cooler
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Northern Illinois University
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


  • Architecture

    Websites/Multiple Documents

    Title: Yangon Heritage Trust
    Description/subject: "The mission of the Yangon Heritage Trust is to protect and promote Yangon’s urban heritage within a cohesive urban plan by advocating for heritage protection, advising the government and developers on heritage issues, and undertaking preservation projects, studies, conferences, and training. The core of our current activities are described on the pages below:"
    Language: English, Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ
    Source/publisher: Yangon Heritage Trust
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 08 September 2013


    Individual Documents

    Title: Restoring Rangoon (video)
    Date of publication: 22 May 2013
    Description/subject: "Myanmar’s former capital, Yangon, boasts one of the most spectacular early-20th century urban landscapes in Asia. A century ago the country’s former capital was one of the world's great trading cities and the legacy of that cosmopolitan past remains today. Saved from the fate of other Asian cities due to the country's isolation under military rule, Yangon’s downtown area is a unique blend of cultural and imperial architecture, considered to be the last surviving "colonial core" in Asia. But as the country opens up, this unique heritage is under threat. Decades of neglect have left once grand buildings a crumbling mess and they are at grave risk of being demolished in favour of hastily built towers and condominiums..." Some of the damage has already been done as developers race to cash in on the country’s rapid pace of change. Myanmar historian and scholar, Thant Myint U, is leading the charge to preserve Yangon’s heritage and return many buildings to their former glory. He has founded the Yangon Heritage Trust, a group pushing for a cohesive urban plan for the city. The stories of the buildings and the people who lived - and still live in them today, are truly unique in the world. 101 East was granted rare access inside the famous Secretariat building, the site of Myanmar's independence ceremony in 1948 and the assassination of national hero, General Aung San, the father of pro-democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi. This immense building, which housed the parliament from 1948-1962 has been closed to the public behind razor wire for more than half a century and few have ever seen inside it. Its greatest challenge may yet be surviving the modern era as Yangon embarks on its dramatic transition into a modern Asian city..."
    Author/creator: Aela Callan
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Al Jazeera (101 East)
    Format/size: Adobe Flash (25 minutes)
    Date of entry/update: 08 September 2013


    Title: Hort der weissen Elefanten und feldgrünen Könige
    Date of publication: 05 January 2011
    Description/subject: Vor fünf Jahren überraschte Burmas enigmatische Militärjunta mit der Ankündigung, im dünn besiedelten Landesinnern eine neue Hauptstadt zu bauen. Entstanden ist ein steriles Nebeneinander von Ministerien, Hotels und Wohnblöcken.
    Language: Deutsch, German
    Source/publisher: NZZ Online
    Date of entry/update: 27 January 2011


    Title: Tiffin Time Again
    Date of publication: January 2006
    Description/subject: Government involvement helps restore shine to Rangoon's Strand Hotel... "Rangoon is a picture book of architectural gems from the years of British colonialism. But visitors have a frustrating time discovering them. The city streets so carefully planned and built in the mid-19th century have been allowed by neglectful Burmese post-colonial governments to fade and crumble. Layers of soot and grime accumulated over the years make it difficult to detect exquisite art nouveau and solid Victorian and Edwardian features of buildings that, in their time, would not have looked out of place in bourgeois areas of London..."
    Author/creator: Jim Andrews
    Language: Engllish
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 14, No. 1
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 01 May 2006


    Title: Secrets of a Shan Palace
    Date of publication: May 2005
    Description/subject: Does a protective curse prevent the regime from pulling it down?... Yawnghwe Haw, the large wood and brick palace of Burma’s first president, Sao Shwe Thaike, near Inle Lake in southern Shan State, has survived the ravages of Burma’s turbulent history—unlike its ill-fated former occupant, who died in jail. Some suggest that the palace owes its survival to a protecting curse on anyone daring to pull it down. That was the fate of the famous Shan palace Haw Sao Pha Kengtung, demolished by the Burmese military junta in 1991. Now known as Yawnghwe (Nyaungshwe) Haw Museum, Sao Shwe Thaike’s palace has undergone superficial renovation to repair damage caused by years of neglect, when squatters occupied outbuildings and graffiti was scrawled on some of the walls. The exhibits themselves have been catalogued and explained by the museum’s curators with only a cursory nod to historical fact. Built in the Mandalay tradition and completed in the late 1920s, Yawnghwe Haw is a fine example of Shan palace architecture, though perhaps not as impressive as the demolished Haw Sao Pha Kengtung. The museum’s collection contains precious and beautiful artifacts—elaborate royal thrones, teak tables, divans, sedans and palanquins. Also included are numerous costumes belonging to the Shan sawbwas, or rulers, from Yawnghwe as well as Kengtung..."
    Author/creator: Tara Monroe
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 5
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 27 April 2006


    Title: Remaking Rangoon
    Date of publication: July 2003
    Description/subject: "Rangoon’s modernization drive in preparation for the 2006 Asean Summit is destroying the capital’s architectural heritage... A house of teak and brick in Botataung Township in Rangoon is being razed to make way for a taller, more modern skyscraper. The house was full of charm at the turn of the 20th century, and was one of many buildings that earned the Burmese capital the reputation as the "Pearl of the Orient". "My house was beautiful and in good condition considering it was nearly 100 years old," said the 50-year-old owner, as he watched his home being demolished. But now he is more pragmatic than sentimental. "As the new ones are coming, the old ones have to go," he added. In the first half of the last century Rangoon was a model for other Southeast Asian cities. Famed for its many buildings of religious, historical and architectural significance, the city was a hybrid of colonial charm and unique Burmese splendor. The great traditional houses of the city were built from teak, with grand spired roofs, decorated eaves and crafted paneling. But now much of that has been thrown into the dustbin of history..."
    Author/creator: Kyaw Zwa Moe
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 11, No. 6
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 06 November 2003


    Title: THE ART AND CULTURE OF BURMA (Table of Contents)
    Date of publication: 2002
    Description/subject: "The purpose of this on-line study-guide and course-outline is to make text and visual materials on the arts of Burma readily and inexpensively available, in particular to students and teachers. These materials assume college level reading skills so that the contents may be used for independent study courses, as a resource for teachers in secondary schools, as well as anyone interested in expanding and enriching their knowledge of the Arts and Cultures of Burma. Because the text is written for a general audience it does not contain the detail or footnotes that are found in scholarly publications. A select bibliography is provided at the end of each section for those who wish to pursue topics previously discussed. The illustrations are digitized from my own collection of color slides with the several exceptions are noted..." TOC: Overview: Purpose, Extended Contents, Acknowledgements, and Geographical Overview; Art History of Burma: Synoptic Overview; Chapter 1 - Prehistoric and Animist Periods c. 1100 BC to c. 200 AD: Paleolithic and Neolithic sites, Animism, and Karen Bronze Drums; Chapter 2 - The Pre-Pagan Period: The Urban Age of the Mon and the Pyu c.200 to c.800 AD: Mon and Pyu City states: Thaton, Beikthano, Halin, and Srikshetra; Chapter 3 - the Pagan Period c. 800 AD to 1287 AD; Part 1 - Introduction and City Plan of Pagan; Part 2 - Architecture 1 - General Characteristics and Stupas; Part 3 - Architecture 2 - Temples and Monasteries Part 4 - Sculpture, Conclusion, and Bibliography; Chapter 4 - The Post Pagan Period; Part 1 - Introduction and the Ava Period; Part 2 - The Konbaung Period: Amarapura; Part 3 - Mandalay Period; Special Section: 80 Scenes of the Life of Buddha.
    Author/creator: Richard M. Cooler
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Northern Illinois University
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: THE ART AND CULTURE OF BURMA - Chapter 3: The Pagan Period. Part 2 - Architecture 1 - General Characteristics and Stupas
    Date of publication: 2002
    Description/subject: "Stupas are solid structures that typically cannot be entered and were constructed to contain sacred Buddhist relics that are hidden from view (and vandals) in containers buried at their core or in the walls. Temples have an open interior that may be entered and in which are displayed one or more cult images as a focus for worship. Although this categorization between Stupa and temple is useful, the distinction is not always clear. There are stupas such as the Myazedei that have the external form of a stupa but are like a temple with an inner corridor and multiple shrines..."
    Author/creator: Richard M. Cooler
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Northern Illinois University
    Format/size: html
    Alternate URLs: http://www.seasite.niu.edu/burmese/Cooler/BurmaArt_TOC.htm (Table of Contents)
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: THE ART AND CULTURE OF BURMA - Chapter 3: The Pagan Period. Part 3 - Architecture 2 - Temples and Monasteries
    Date of publication: 2002
    Description/subject: "... Pagan temples may be divided into two basic types according to floor plan: one type has an open central sanctuary and the other has a solid core that is ringed by a corridor. The two types, however, were at times combined in a single structure in which the solid core was hollowed out to create a sanctuary that was then encircled by a corridor..."
    Author/creator: Richard M. Cooler
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Northern Illinois University
    Format/size: html
    Alternate URLs: http://www.seasite.niu.edu/burmese/Cooler/BurmaArt_TOC.htm (Table of Contents)
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: Text and New Contexts: Shwedagon and Kyaikhtiyoe today
    Date of publication: December 2001
    Description/subject: "Texts and Contexts", December 2001 Conference, Universities' Historical Research Centre, Yangon University... Abstract: The paper discusses the use of texts in current renovation of pagodas in Myanmar, taking as examples aspects of work undertaken at the Shwedagon and Kyaikhtiyoe in the last two years. Different types of texts, from inscriptions and traditional accounts to contemporary technical reports, are used to illustrate the complex tradition found in the country today. These are presented in the context of past interaction including Mon influence and the Hsandawshin (Sacred Hair) heritage, as well as present links such as planetary aspects and the role of renovation in encouraging the sustenance of Theravada practice.
    Author/creator: Elizabeth Moore,
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Myanmar Historical Research Journal, University of Yangon [forthcoming]
    Format/size: pdf (747K)
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: The Mandalay Palace
    Date of publication: 1963
    Description/subject: Mandalay Palace - Historical Sites; Mandalay - Description and Travel; Mandalay - History; Myanmar - History - Later Konbaung Period; Contents: (1) Foundation of the Palace and City p. 10-15; (2) The City's Defensive Walls p. 16-19; (3) Building outside the palace platform p. 22-24; (4) The Buildings within the palace platform p. 25-35; (5) Appendix - Kings of the Alaungpaya Dynasty p. 37; This book was published with the grant of 1962 Asia; Foundation. Text by Mon C. Durosielle former Superintendent of the Directorate of Archaeological Survey. Supplemented with thirty one plates of photographs, plans and measured drawings of the palace structures and architectural motifs as preserved in the Archaeological Department.
    Author/creator: Mon C. Durosielle
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: The Directorate of Archaeological Survey
    Format/size: PDF (3.84MB) 57pages
    Alternate URLs: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Zh_zzAF5zUgJ:https://www.myanmarisp.com/ABR/Ma...
    Date of entry/update: 10 July 2010


  • Ceramics

    Individual Documents

    Title: Pottery in the Chin Hills
    Date of publication: 1999
    Description/subject: During my research on contemporary pottery villages in Burma, I was given the name of one such village, Lente, by a native now living in the United States. Lente is located in the Chin Hills, a remote area of western Burma difficult to access, inhabited by many tribes speaking a large number of languages. Foreigners are rarely given permission to visit the Chin Hills, and although I obtained permission to travel to Lente, I was ultimately prevented by the authorities from going further than nearby Falam. I was nevertheless able to collect data from Lente in three ways: first, my guide Daw Moe Moe was able to visit Lente and take photographs of the potters there; secondly, Daw Moe Moe was able to return to Falam with a potter from Lente village and with enough of the proper kind of clay to facilitate a demonstration which I photographed and documented; and thirdly, I was given a copy of a videotape showing the potters working in Lente village. This tape was taken by a young man from Falam who is interested in recording local crafts processes. The tape allowed me to observe a process of making pots with which I was totally unacquainted, and which has otherwise escaped recent photographic or video documentation. This was a true "discovery" concerning the ways in which pots can be made, and still another indication of the imagination and ingenuity of humankind.
    Author/creator: Charlotte Reith
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Journal of Burma Studies Vol. 4 (1999)
    Format/size: pdf (1.4MB)
    Date of entry/update: 10 March 2009


    Title: Comparison of Three Pottery Villages: Shan State Burma
    Date of publication: 1997
    Description/subject: During my visit from 1991-1994 to three pottery-producing villages in Shan State, I was struck by the differences in technology and product. Contrary to my assumption that this small area would evidence a shared technology and similar products, I found three distinctly differing pottery traditions. In some places in the world, membership in the same ethnic group seems to be an important factor in determining the techniques and products of the potters belonging to that group. However, two of these villages, Compani and Awe Yaw, are both populated by Danu and have distinctly different ways of making pots. While it is primarily concerned with the pottery-making processes in the three villages, this article is also interested in the lives of the potters and how they face the challenges inherent in their craft.
    Author/creator: Charlotte Reith
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Journal of Burma Studies Vol. 1 (1997)
    Format/size: pdf (2.2MB)
    Date of entry/update: 10 March 2009


  • Films and film-making

    Individual Documents

    Title: Wanted: Actor to Play Aung San
    Date of publication: September 2009
    Description/subject: Soe Moe, one of Burma’s best-known film directors, says he plans to make a movie about the Tatmadaw, the Burmese army, but he hasn’t yet chosen the actor who will play its founder, Aung San, father of Aung San Suu Kyi... "The proposed film, which will carry the title “Kye Zin Maw Goon” (“Star of History”), will trace the Tatmadaw’s history back to the years of Burma’s independence struggle and the civil war that broke out shortly after British colonial rule came to an end in 1948..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 17, No. 6
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 19 January 2010


    Title: Actor's Chilly New Film Project
    Date of publication: August 2009
    Description/subject: "Burma's award-winning screen actor Lwin Moe is moving once again from in front of the camera to make a documentary film about the glaciers of northern Kachin State. If the film proves as popular as his previous ventures into documentary production, Lwin Moe says he may ditch his acting career and become a full-time producer and director. For now, he is managing to combine all three areas of work..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 17, No. 5
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 26 December 2009


    Title: Burma's Father of Political Cinema
    Date of publication: August 2009
    Description/subject: Businessman, filmmaker, patriot "Parrot" U Sonny made a profound mark on Burma's early film industry... "In Burma's modern history, there have been many artists who have taken great risks to tackle such challenging themes as nationalism, religion and social injustice. Some confronted the authorities of the day to produce works of art that reflected their political views, while others faced financial ruin to remain true to their convictions. Among the many artistic risk-takers who have had a major impact on Burmese culture, one name stands out from all the rest: the acclaimed filmmaker U Sunny, whose company, Parrot Film Productions, was a pioneer in the field of politically inspired cinema, producing 92 films from 1931 to 1957..."
    Author/creator: Arkar Moe
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 17, No. 5
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 26 December 2009


    Title: The Rambo approach to Burma
    Date of publication: 20 June 2008
    Description/subject: "Sylvester Stallone has claimed that his movie, Rambo 4, released internationally in February and available to Australians on DVD next month, has a serious purpose — to draw attention to the Burmese government’s long record of human rights abuses and to mobilize action against the military regime. Yet, its dubious entertainment value aside, this movie in fact has the potential to do Burma’s opposition movement considerable harm..."
    Author/creator: Andrew Selth
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Interpreter" - weblog of the Lowy Institute for International Policy
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 04 March 2009


    Title: Populism, Politics and Propaganda: Burma and the Movies
    Date of publication: June 2008
    Description/subject: Abstract: "For almost a century, movies set in or about Burma, particularly those made by the major American studios, have had a number of elements in common. While emphasizing its more colourful and exotic characteristics, they have either greatly romanticized the country or depicted it as a savage and untamed wilderness. Also, Burma has usually served as a backdrop for dramatic Occidental adventures, in which the local inhabitants played little role. More recent movies pay the Burmese people greater attention, but they are still secondary to the main plot, even when the movies consciously draw attention to the current military regime’s human rights abuses. In recent films like Beyond Rangoon and Rambo 4, however, complex issues are over-simplified, or exaggerated to the point of unreality. While these movies have proven effective at planting vivid images in the popular mind and helping to mobilize support for the opposition movement, crude and misleading messages such as those sent by Rambo 4 can actually hinder the resolution of Burma’s many problems."
    Author/creator: Andrew Selth
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Southeast Asia Research Centre Working Paper Series, No. 100, 2008 (City University of Hong Kong)
    Format/size: pdf (208K)
    Date of entry/update: 21 December 2010


    Title: A Sad Cinema Scenario
    Date of publication: August 2006
    Description/subject: Burma’s movie industry is in decline while an illegal video business booms... In the heyday of Burma’s film industry about 80 movies were produced annually, enjoyed a golden heyday, some of them jointly with foreign production companies. But that was 50 years ago. Today, the industry is in the doldrums, with very few films making any money, cinemas struggling to survive and artistic standards at an all-time low..."
    Author/creator: Yeni
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 14, No. 8
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 01 May 2007


    Title: Lights, Camera—But Where’s the Action?
    Date of publication: September 2005
    Description/subject: Burma’s B movie scene, where B stands for Bad... "...Government participation in one form or another is inevitable in an industry so sadly lacking in outside investment. According to actors and directors, there are currently only two or three businessmen interested in producing films. Even the most popular Burmese-made films make little profit, if any. In what might be seen as an enlightened bid to upgrade the quality of Burmese films, the regime is actually encouraging directors and film technicians to get overseas training and enter their films in international festivals. Industry insiders say the Burmese military hope that film festival success will help to attract investors and draw people back to the cinema, where audiences have reportedly dwindled by up to 50 percent in the past two years. While few directors would risk trying anything political or religious, many want the opportunity to write scripts that deal with serious social issues; or at least something a little more experimental. They believe this would give local audiences new material and show international critics that Burmese films can be creative and make their mark on world screens..."
    Author/creator: Toby Hudson
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 9
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 30 April 2006


    Title: Celluloid Disillusions
    Date of publication: March 2004
    Description/subject: "Given that Burma’s movie industry is tightly directed by the government, suffers from a deficit of technical skills and technology—not to mention financing problems—it’s a small miracle anything gets produced at all... Aye Aye, in her 40s, does not bother to hide her dislike of made-in-Burma m ovies. "Burmese films are not natural, their themes are boring and they never change plots. I hate to watch them." She prefers Hollywood movies. Other members of her family like the Chinese and Korean soap operas that air on state-run TV. "In fact," she said, "karaoke is ahead of the [Burmese] movie." Many educated Burmese in Rangoon told The Irrawaddy that they stopped watching Burmese films many years ago..."
    Author/creator: Aung Zaw
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 12, No. 3
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 09 June 2004


    Title: Digital Killed the Celluloid Star
    Date of publication: March 2004
    Description/subject: "Burma’s film industry has lagged behind that of its neighbors as a result of outdated technology, government censorship, hackneyed screenwriting and mediocre acting. But a humble piece of plastic may soon change all that: the DVD..."
    Author/creator: Min Zin
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 12, No. 3
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 09 June 2004


    Title: Escapist Entertainment: Hollywood Movies of Burma
    Date of publication: March 2004
    Description/subject: "Hollywood representations of Burma paint the country as an exotic, cruel land that serves as a backdrop for daring occidental adventurers and patriots... The earliest Hollywood imaginings of Burma were romantic melodramas about white women in jeopardy, using the Southeast Asian landscape as an exotic backdrop. These and subsequent films about Burma have relegated Burmese characters to the sidelines. A lurid, silent thriller about prostitution and murder, Road to Mandalay (1926), set the tone. Eight years later saw the release of Mandalay, in which the Sacramento Delta in California plays the part of the Irrawaddy River. It is a sordid tale of revenge, murder, a Rangoon nightclub hostess, and a drunken doctor on his way to a "black fever" outbreak. The Girl from Mandalay (1936) featured another nightclub entertainer, another epidemic, and a tiger attack. Moon Over Burma (1940) is Dorothy Lamour’s turn as the nightclub chanteuse, with Burma depicted as a jungle paradise, the usual setting for her popular "sarong movies"—romances in which she sang, swathed in form-fitting batik. The central character in these early pictures was always the victimized, yet plucky, Western—or part-Asian—woman adrift in the mysterious Orient..."
    Author/creator: Edith Mirante
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 12, No. 3
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 09 June 2004


  • Multimedia

    Individual Documents

    Title: Burma: Freedom of expression in transition
    Date of publication: July 2013
    Description/subject: Introduction: "Burma is at a crossroads. The period of transition since 2010 has opened up the space for freedom of expression to an extent unpredicted by even the most optimistic in the country. Yet this space is highly contingent on a number of volatile factors: the goodwill of the current President and his associates in Parliament, the ability of Aung San Suu Kyi to assure the military that her potential ascendency is not a threat to their economic interests and the on-going civil conflicts not flaring into civil war. The restrictive apparatus of the former military state is still available for the government to use to curtail freedom of expression – the most draconian laws are still on the statute book affecting the media, the digital sphere and the arts; police and local authorities have significant discretion when it comes to approving speech and performance, and the judiciary has a limited institutional understanding of freedom of expression. In effect, the old state remains in the shadows – or as one journalist told Index: “the generals have only changed their suits”. Yet Burma has changed. The country is freer than it was during Index’s mission in 2009, when meetings were held in secret. 1 In March this year, Index co-produced a symposium on artistic freedom of expression with local partners, the first public conversation of its kind in recent history . The abolition of pre-censorship of newspapers and literature, the return of daily newspapers, the release of political prisoners and the open space given to political debate all signal real change. The question for the government and the opposition is: will the transition be sustained with legal and political reform to reinforce the space for freedom of expression and to dismantle the old state apparatus that continues to pose a threat to freedom of expression? This paper is divided into the following chapters: Burmese politics and society; media freedom; artistic freedom of expression and digital freedom of expression. The report is based on research conducted in the UK and 20 interviews (with individuals and groups) in March 2013 conducted in Mandalay and Yangon. Due to the ongoing possibility of future prosecutions, the interviewees have been kept anonymous. Politics and society looks at the role of the President, United Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy (NLD) and the student movement and freedom of expression, ethnic conflict and the constitution and the need for reform, freedom of association and freedom of assembly. The media freedom chapter looks at the press council, existing impediments to media freedom, the state of media plurality and self-censorship in the press. The artistic freedom of expression chapter covers theatre and performance art, literature, music and film. Finally , the digital freedom of expression chapter looks at access issues, the impact of new technologies and state censorship on the digital sphere. The report is based on a series of interviews conducted in Rangoon and Mandalay in March 2013, with additional interviews conducted in April 2013 in the same cities."
    Author/creator: Mike Harris
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Index on Censorship
    Format/size: pdf (1.1MB-reduced version; 4.6MB-original)
    Date of entry/update: 11 August 2013


  • Painting

    Websites/Multiple Documents

    Title: Burma Border Children's Art Project
    Description/subject: - Improving the lives of migrant children through art...About us: As its primary goal, the Burma Border Children's Art Project has sought to introduce art into the curriculum of migrant schools for the fun, enjoyment and creative outlet that it offers all students, as well as aiming to develop the artistic skills of potential future artists. In addition, through the exhibition and sale of work, the project has worked to develop an appreciation that art is a viable income-generating supplement or alternative to working as an unskilled labourer. In pursuing these goals, the project has paid special attention to encouraging young female artists.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Burma Border Children's Art Project
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 25 December 2008


    Title: Htein Lin's site
    Author/creator: Htein Lin
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Htein Lin
    Format/size: html etc
    Date of entry/update: 19 December 2007


    Title: Pansuriya (Pansodan and Suriya galleries) website and blog
    Description/subject: "Pansodan and Suriya galleries are a project of Aung Soe Min and Nance Cunningham. Find Pansodan Gallery on the upper block of Pansodan Street in the heart of downtown Yangon, just a few doors down from the Panorama Hotel. We're on the first floor. Find Suriya Gallery in Chiang Mai on Huay Kaew. No. 2, Hotel Bua Luang, Soi Bua Luang (the same soi as Holiday Garden, off Huay Kaew Road. Look for the spray-paint Suriya Art Gallery sign before you get to the hotel gate, or park in the Nice Nails/Mr Chan and Miss Pauline's Pizza parking lot and walk through the gate to No. 2)"
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Pansuriya
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 11 April 2009


    Individual Documents

    Title: Art for Rangoon's Sake
    Date of publication: 26 January 2012
    Description/subject: "On the first floor of a dilapidated building in downtown Rangoon, a narrow staircase leads up to a small space that probably houses more contemporary art per square meter than anywhere else in the city: the Pansodan Gallery. Unlike other galleries, such as those at Bogyoke Aung San market that only sell paintings with “exotic” themes to satisfy the wildt Orientalist fantasies of tourists, Pansodan reveals an art scene far richer than one would expect in a country like Burma/ Myanmar—mired in poverty, isolated for years from the rest of the world, and tightly controlled by one of the most repressive dictatorships in the world. In its three years, the gallery, open every day of the week until six in the evening, has become a meeting place for artists and art enthusiasts. Burmese and foreigners all visit the gallery, not only to buy or sell pieces of art, but to have a tea, exchange ideas, attend a poetry reading, or simply to relax for a while. The gallery’s owner, Aung Soe Min, is a gentle and kind man that welcomes visitors with Burmese hospitality, and is always relaxed and happy to answer any questions..."... Originally published in Spanish in the website FronteraD under the title “El galerista de Rangún”. See Alternate URL
    Author/creator: CARLOS SARDINA GALACHE
    Language: English, Español, Spanish
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy"
    Format/size: html
    Alternate URLs: http://fronterad.com/?q=el-galerista-de-Rangun (original Spanish, published 2012-01-05)
    Date of entry/update: 15 August 2012


    Title: Shan Exile Exhibits Art in Chiang Mai
    Date of publication: July 2010
    Description/subject: "A Burmese artist from a prominent Shan family is currently exhibiting his paintings in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. Sawan Yawnghwe is the grandson of Sao Shwe Thaik, the first president of the Union of Burma following independence in 1948, who was assassinated following Gen Ne Win’s military coup in 1962. Fleeing persecution in Burma, Sawan’s family went into exile when he was an infant, first in Chiang Mai, then in Canada..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 18, No. 7
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 30 August 2010


    Title: Burmese Artists Exhibit in Kyoto
    Date of publication: December 2009
    Description/subject: "Three Burmese artists, including The Irrawaddy’s cartoonist and illustrator Harn Lay, will show their work this month at an exhibition in Kyoto, Japan. The other two are Yei Myint and Kaung Su. Yei Myint, who studied at the State School of Fine Arts in Mandalay, has exhibited extensively abroad and currently has a one-man show, entitled “Van Gogh Visits Pagan,” at the Suvannabhumi Gallery in Chiang Mai. Kaung Su studied at the State School of Fine Arts in Rangoon and is well known for his “Black Face” series. Gallery owner Mar Mar selected the works of the three artists for the Kyoto exhibition, which runs from Dec. 18—23."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 17, No. 9
    Format/size: html
    Alternate URLs: http://www2.irrawaddy.org/print_article.php?art_id=17329
    Date of entry/update: 28 February 2010


    Title: The ‘Galapagos Islands of Art’
    Date of publication: November 2009
    Description/subject: First comprehensive history of Burmese painting uncovers an aesthetic treasure house... "When his diplomat father died in the early 1990s, Andrew Ranard inherited a small collection of Burmese paintings, and in a visit to Burma in 1994 he acquainted himself firsthand with the artists and their work. His research took him into an artistic world that was then little known outside Burma..."
    Author/creator: Jim Andrews
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 17, No. 8
    Format/size: html
    Alternate URLs: http://www2.irrawaddy.org/print_article.php?art_id=17144
    Date of entry/update: 28 February 2010


    Title: Graffiti Gains Ground
    Date of publication: October 2009
    Description/subject: Graffiti artists move further into the mainstream in Burma with an exhibition of their work opening at the end of September at Rangoon’s New Zero Space Gallery... "“We want to promote graffiti as an artistic movement,” said the gallery’s Ko Aye Ko. The young artist, whose work will also be on show, said graffiti in Burma reflected the tensions and despair felt by the country’s youth. Contemporary artists such as Nyein Chan Suu and Kaung Suu will display their work inside the gallery, while an outside wall will provide a surface for other spray painters to show their talent. The graffiti phenomenon first surfaced in Burma about nine years ago and won followers in Burma’s pop art and music scene and in commercial design. Although a successful exhibition of graffiti was held at the French Cultural Center in Rangoon in 2007, it remains an underground art movement..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 17, No. 7
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 28 February 2010


    Title: Naked Defiance
    Date of publication: June 2009
    Description/subject: "Artists pay scant attention to regime restrictions by tackling a taboo genre... ENCOURAGED and emboldened by an increasing interest in their work among Western art enthusiasts and collectors, some Burmese artists are venturing into a genre that breaks with the past and bravely flouts official disapproval. It’s literally naked defiance. These artists are tackling an aesthetic subject that has been treated openly in the West for centuries—the nude..."
    Author/creator: Jim Andrews
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 17, No. 3
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 24 June 2009


    Title: Motion Pictures
    Date of publication: February 2009
    Description/subject: "Burmese artist captures traditional dances on canvas... IN his latest solo exhibition, Nay Myo Say, one of Burma’s best known contemporary artists, has again demonstrated his outstanding skill in depicting the essence of Burmese classical dancing and Buddhist ritual..."
    Author/creator: Yeni
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 17, No. 1
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 16 February 2009


    Title: Tears and Paint
    Date of publication: August 2007
    Description/subject: Migrant artist shares his earnings with the refugees who people his canvases... "Suffering from depression and weighed down by the hardships of life in Burma, Maung Maung Tinn finally decided to leave his home town, Moulmein, capital of Mon State. That was in 1994. “I felt I had no future there, so I left my home,” the soft-spoken painter said. The child of a Shan father and Karen mother, Maung Maung Tinn felt hopelessness at not being able to help his parents and grandparents. They were helping to pay for his studies at Moulmein University, while he did his best to lighten the load o­n them by working as a clerk in a government-owned electricity plant. Like many other Burmese, he made for Mae Sot, in Thailand, where he rapidly found employment at Dr Cynthia Maung’s Clinic, working at first as a chef, preparing meals for patients and medical staff, and then becoming a trained medic and health worker in the clinic’s outpatient department. His real talent surfaced, however, during his free time—hours he spent drawing and painting. He had shown promise at school, inspired by such famous Burmese artists as Wa Thone and Myo Myint..."
    Author/creator: Aung Zaw
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol 15, No. 8
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 02 May 2008


    Title: Art in Captivity
    Date of publication: May 2006
    Description/subject: Burma’s political prisoners find some measure of freedom in jail through resourceful self-expression
    Author/creator: Yeni
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 14, No. 5
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 28 December 2006


    Title: Modern Burmese Painting According to Bagyi Aung Soe
    Date of publication: 2006
    Description/subject: Abstract: "Rangoon-based artist Bagyi Aung Soe (1924-1990) has been regarded by fellow artists as a pioneer of modern art in Burma. Influenced by precepts practiced at Rabindranath Tagore's Å¡antiniketan, he elaborated an original painting approach and style synthesizing diverse artistic approaches, which neither adhered exclusively to the European or Burmese artistic tradition nor regurgitated twentieth-century Western artistic innovations. Despite his renown within Burma, his idiom remains little understood both within and beyond Burma because of a lack of awareness of his motivations and their context. This article attempts to elucidate Bagyi Aung Soe's interpretation of modernity in Burmese painting, and with reference to his works and writings, examine the modernity of his art."
    Author/creator: Yin Ker
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "Journal of Burma Studies" Vol. 10, (2005/06)
    Format/size: pdf (6.2; 13.2MB - original)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.niu.edu/burma/publications/jbs/vol10/index.shtml (original, heavy file -- the main URL is to a version reduced by the Adobe reduce file size function)
    Date of entry/update: 31 December 2008


    Title: Art in Exile
    Date of publication: June 2005
    Description/subject: Burmese paintings find their home in a Chiang Mai gallery... "It’s a sad reflection on the Rangoon regime’s restrictive policies on artistic expression that one of Southeast Asia’s finest collections of contemporary Burmese art isn’t to be found in Burma, but in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand. All the works in Lashio-born Mar Mar’s collection—more than 400 paintings, drawings and collages by 50 or so artists—were created in Burma, but many of them could never be displayed publicly there. They include paintings deemed “political” and nudes that would offend the puritanical tastes of the Rangoon generals..."
    Author/creator: Jim Andrews
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No.6
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 28 April 2006


    Title: A Very Burmese Way
    Date of publication: May 2005
    Description/subject: Harry Priestley goes to Rangoon to take a look at the development and current state of modern art in Burma and finds that there is life beyond the buffalo... "The man wipes his brow and studies the painting. Two robed monks are disappearing into a melting pastel-orange sunset while in the foreground a buffalo, head cocked quizzically, stares out. After a brief conversation with his companion, the man asks the stall holder to wrap the piece and pulls out a fan of fifty dollar bills. He takes the package and before the pair have climbed into a taxi, the empty wall space has been filled with another, almost identical painting. In Rangoon, where the average wage is somewhere in the region of a dollar a day, art can mean good business. Kyaw Zay Yar sells his paintings from his brother’s stall at downtown Rangoon’s Bogyoke Market and, despite it being only April, reckons to have already sold nearly 150 pieces this year. Passionate in declaring his love for contemporary abstract artists like Nyein Chan Su (“So strong and free, he’s the best”), Kyaw Zay Yar is first and foremost a man looking to provide for his young family—and churning out monks and sunsets helps him do just that. “I paint like this because it’s good business,” he says. “Foreigners like to buy beautiful scenes, so that’s what I paint..."
    Author/creator: Harry Priestley
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 5
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 27 April 2006


    Title: Kunst (um) zu leben - Ein Reise- und Ausstellungsbericht aus und zu Burma
    Date of publication: December 2004
    Description/subject: »Identities versus Globalisation? Positionen zeitgenössischer Kunst aus Südostasien«, von der Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung organisierten Kunstausstellung mit fast sechzig Werken aus zehn südostasiatischen Ländern. key words: art, globalisation, galleries in Burma
    Author/creator: Andrea Fleschenberg
    Language: Deutsch, German
    Source/publisher: Südostasien Jg. 20, Nr. 4 - Asienhaus
    Format/size: pdf
    Date of entry/update: 01 March 2005


    Title: Creation in Isolation: The Life and Career of Bagyi Aung Soe
    Date of publication: May 2004
    Description/subject: "Solitary and destitute throughout his life, Bagyi Aung Soe probably never imagined the impact of his work on future Burmese artists and the success many now enjoy... Today, more than a decade after the death of illustrator, actor, teacher, and, above all, artist Bagyi Aung Soe (1923-1990), paintings by Burmese artists are fetching record prices in the local and international markets. Bagyi (Burmese for “painting”) Aung Soe did not live to see his own work on display in museums and private galleries or to see his fellow artists shine in international art exhibitions. It probably never occurred to him that it could be so. When he passed away in Rangoon in 1990, he had just witnessed some of the most appalling events in recent Burmese history. Hope in his homeland’s future was bleak; the health of the country’s art community was the furthest thing on most people’s minds. Yet, he continued to express and create—if only on any scrap of paper that he could get his hands on..."
    Author/creator: Yin Ker
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 12, No. 5
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 01 August 2004


    Title: The Renaissance of Burmese Art
    Date of publication: February 2004
    Description/subject: "Under the authoritarian government that lasted from 1962 to 1988, Burma’s artists were down and out. But with Burmese paintings now fetching tens of thousands of US dollars on international markets, Burmese art is up and coming..."
    Author/creator: Kyaw Zwa Moe
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 12, No. 2
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 09 June 2004


    Title: Mentor and Tormentor
    Date of publication: September 2001
    Description/subject: "Paw Thit could have taught Kyaw Win much about the meaning of art; instead Burma's best-loved art critic is behind bars, a victim of the system the inscrutable Kyaw Win represents. No Burmese artist or art lover could ever fail to recognize the title of A Quest for Beauty, a celebrated book of art criticism by a writer of rare gifts named Paw Thit. This excellent handbook of Burmese art history, covering every imaginable "ism", has earned the admiration of countless aficionados of the fine arts in Burma. Certainly, a passionate amateur painter like Maj-Gen Kyaw Win, deputy to Military Intelligence (MI) chief Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt, could be counted among those who can truly appreciate Paw Thit�s sensitivity to line and color, light and shade, perspective and depth of artistic vision. And if Paw Thit ever had a chance to review Kyaw Win's work on display at the G. V. Gallery, in Rangoon's exclusive Golden Valley suburb, he would no doubt offer words of encouragement to this dedicated dilettante. Cutting a dignified but kindly figure, he might make a critical comparison to the work of U Lun Kywe, Burma's most famous impressionist painter, while acknowledging that Kyaw Win had true talent and an eye for beauty. Sadly, however, this encounter is unlikely to ever take place. For Paw Thit, Burma's most respected art critic, is none other than U Win Tin, a veteran journalist who was once one of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's most valued advisors's role that has cost him his freedom. For a dozen years now, U Win Tin, a.k.a. Paw Thit, has been a political prisoner in Rangoon's infamous Insein Prison. Held in solitary confinement for more than a decade, but unbent in his convictions, he continues to exert inestimable influence on Burma's artistic community..."
    Author/creator: San San Tin
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol 9. No. 7
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: Burmese Contemporary Modern Arts and Paintings from Burma
    Description/subject: "Showcasing work from contemporary artists in Myanmar,Burma.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Thavibu Gallery
    Format/size: html, jpg
    Alternate URLs: http://www.thavibu.com/burma/
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


  • Photography

    Individual Documents

    Title: Political Prisoners Remembered
    Date of publication: September 2009
    Description/subject: A photographer documents Burmese former political prisoners and those who remain in jail... "A British photographer has set out on a personal mission to publicize the plight of Burma’s more than 2,100 political prisoners by photographing former prisoners of the regime who now live in refugee camps or have emigrated..."
    Author/creator: David Paquette
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 17, No. 6
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 19 January 2010


    Title: Focusing on Harmony and Understanding
    Date of publication: February 2008
    Description/subject: "A program offering photography courses to children from marginalized Burmese and Thai ethnic communities in Thailand is producing some promising talent. Apart from teaching useful skills, the program aims to foster friendship between children and build bridges of peace and understanding, according to Jeanne Hallacy, director of Thailand-based InSIGHT Out, the organization that began the program three years ago...
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 16, No. 2
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 27 April 2008


  • Sculpture

    Individual Documents

    Title: Brothers in Bronze
    Date of publication: April 2009
    Description/subject: AMERICAN sculptor Jim McNalis has added Mandalay's comedy trio, the Moustache Brothers, to his gallery of Burmese personalities.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 17, No. 2
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 02 April 2009


    Title: Images of Steel
    Date of publication: June 2007
    Description/subject: Burmese sculptors show they’re not out of touch with the world of modern art... "Burma has a surprising number of outstanding sculptors, producing work of unexpected modernity and sophistication. But these are mostly big, heavy pieces. Moving them out of the country is a laborious, expensive undertaking—risky, too, if the work is judged by Burma’s government censors to have political undertones. For those practical reasons alone, Burma’s sculptors have a hard time achieving the international renown they deserve. They are so thinly represented o­n the world art scene that when an exhibition of modern Burmese sculpture is mounted anywhere outside Burma it’s a big event. Big in every sense. One Burmese sculptor, Sonny Nyein, is currently showing a selection of his work at important venues in Thailand, including Chiang Mai University..."
    Author/creator: Jim Andrews
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 15, No.6
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 03 May 2008