Silence Is Gold: Contemporary Myanmar Art After Political Changes 2015-2019

by Aung Myat Htay

cover of Silence Is Gold: Contemporary Myanmar Art After Political Changes 2015-2019

Art possesses important tools to make lives better, all white perceiving cultural and social histories. After the 2015 general elections, Myanmar successfully transitioned from military rule to a democratic system. We hope that this time provides more chances to express what we want as artists. Today we are focus on good relations between artists and the audience through new engagements.

These video interviews with artists and curators share stories about how the scope of local art expanded after 2015. The first issue of Contemporary Art DVD Magazine titled “An Introduction to Contemporary Art in Myanmar 2013″ had very positive responses by local and international art links. 20 local artists were selected to participate in the DVD project.

For this 2nd issue, we will follow this research style, in an updated local art scene, within the current issues of social/political changes. Supported by Mekong Contemporary Art Foundation, (AURA MEKONG ART PROJECT), and organized by SOCA, we will examine the various voices and record and feature the most important works and ideas of the present time in multidisciplinary scene, through these different generations. Experimental art and new ideas are now rising and emerging among young artists.

Referring to the social and political condition in the face of globalism: the art and the cultural policies remain compressed under socialist norms, within the last seven decades of dictatorship; the backlash of unbalanced society through fear of expression, ethnic diversities, conflict of policy and power; silence was the way to be safe in social engagements. Artists always make with emotion or express hidden desires in isolation. But currently, the art scene may be changing, its voices growing louder because the country is now open.

We said “Silence is Golden”, keeping our mouths shut, not even sure for what reason – are we silent because we fear? Or because we hope? That is a reason to start stimulating voices that are revolutionary and address the hard questions. Sometimes silence and discretion can be more valuable than the most eloquent words. But, what are the points? We need to know how to set effective conversations to be “wisely silent for real gold”.

-Excerpt from Introduction