From 23rd September to 2nd October, an exhibition of the work of three contemporary artists from Thailand and Myanmar will be open to the public at Myanm/art art gallery on Bogalayzay Street.

Curated by Aung Myat Htay, the work of Napat Vatanakuljaras (Thailand), Mayco Naing (Myanmar) and Kriz Channyein (Myanmar) presents their ideas to the viewer in the form of various multimedia installations including video and photography.

The exhibition aims to explore the ‘similarities and differences in their cultural characteristics and aesthetic tendencies’. Supported and organized by The Japan Foundation Asia Center, the exhibition is part of a larger international project on the subject,‘What is Southeast Asia?’

Mayco Naing is a Myanmar photographer and multimedia artist whose work often focuses on the topic of identity. Her exhibit at Melting Boundary includes a collection of traditional ID card photos of other people from various backgrounds as well as a collection of her own self portrait ID card photos which she took over the course of three years. There is also a photo booth where viewers are invited to partake in the exhibition by sitting in a mini studio and taking their own self-portrait.

“An image is a reflection of our reality and we can see the reflection of both emotional and physical changes over a lifetime from an ID.”

Napat Vatanakuljaras from Bangkok presented his take on the exhibition theme based around the pomegranate tree he closely connects to his identity. In his culture, the tree is traditionally used during the birth ritual of the eldest son of a family and kept in the family throughout his life. His visit to Yangon was his first time to leave Thailand and it urged him to reexamine his ideas of his own identity. His exhibit is made up of a number of photos of other peoples’ plants as well as a video installation of snippets of old conversations with his grandmother and the tree itself is also on display.

Kriz Channyein, a Myanmar artist who studied in Singapore, exhibits his installation of ‘larger-than-life’ chinlone balls which is accompanied by a video projection of chinlone being played by a woman on the streets of Yangon. Kris chose the chinlone ball as his primary subject matter because it represents a commonality between the countries of Southeast Asia as well as being a symbol of unity and balance within oneself. He explains:

“The sphere of the chinlone ball is perfect. If something breaks, it will become flat. It’s also a sport played by so many different countries in Southeast Asia – though the name of the sport is different in each country, the idea is the same.”

The exhibition incorporates three events at the gallery over the course of the week – the opening event on Saturday September 23rd, an artist talk followed by a curator presentation on the afternoon of Sunday 24th and on Friday 29th there will be an art forum with the lecturers Dr Aung Min, Htein Lin, Nathalie Johnston and moderator Zoncy with special guest Ms. PichayaAimeSuphawanij (Head Curator of Bangkok Art & Culture Centre – BACC).

Curator Aung Myat Htay, a Mandalay native and co-founder of School of Contemporary Art (SOCA) will share his experience of the “Southeast Asia Curatorial Program” which he attended in Chiang Mai, Bangkok, and Yogyakarta and which the Melting Boundary exhibition is in conjunction with.

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