Friday, 10 June 2016

Art promise being fulfilled in Myanmar

John B Turner: Nathalie Johnson at the 2012 Pingyao International Photography Festival

I had the pleasure of meeting Nathalie Johnson at the 2012 Pingyao International Photography Festival where she curated a show of four Myanmar photographers. I knew nothing of photography in Myanmar (formerly Burma) but knew that the country was then run by a military dictatorship. She told me she was off to Myanmar to work with and help their local artists to show and promote their work. These things take time but I have just heard via LinkedIn that she has now managed to establish an art centre, Myanm/art, in their largest city, Yangon (formerly Rangoon), in the south-east. It is located at 98 Bogalay Zay Street, 3rd Floor, Botataung Township, Yangon, Myanmar. Contact:

Myanm/art includes a gallery, reading room, and exhibition space, and represents
artists from all over Myanmar, both young and emerging, and work to raise 
awareness of their ongoing creative projects, both locally and internationally.

Nathalie writes: 'Our experience in Myanmar over the past six years tells us one thing – there is a hell of a lot of talent, underexposed and undervalued – here in Myanmar. With all the rapid change, artists are working hard to contribute to a country in transition. We want to help these artists build their reputations, gain exposure abroad, and have access to an updated library of archival and contemporary resources. So we combined a reading room with hundreds of books and resources, adjoined to an exhibition space free to use for artists. We also work with a selection of artists we believe to be paving the way for future generations of artists, not only in this country, but all over Asia and the world.'

'Myanm/art was originally founded as a platform to aid and contribute to the growing archive of contemporary arts in Myanmar and therefore, the larger map of Southeast Asia. It existed as an exercise of scholarship and archive, of review and editorials. One of the results of the work of Myanmart was MARCA – Myanmar Art Resource Center and Archive, an online and physical resource serving the artistic and creative community in Yangon, with pop-ups in Mandalay and Taungyi. MARCA was part of the Mobile Library program orginially founded by Asia Art Archive, and was the 3rd country host ever to have over 400 books on contemporary Asian art.'

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