Facebook has never been a place I would visit for art or culture, but that is changing with the Covid-19 Pandemic. I have been introduced to an art space I would have never seen otherwise due to their willingness to be innovative, and continue creating and sharing art despite the current restrictions.
New Zero Art Space is a non-profit organization in Yangon, that encourages young artists to explore and express modern or contemporary art.
It is usually known for its performance art activities and attracts the younger generations by offering workshops on how to shape concepts for contemporary artwork. After their workshops, they have an exhibition. But this year, due to the pandemic, they were not able to host their usual education events. However, they were motivated to create an exhibition that could be shared online inspired by the virus and the social situations that have been created to manage it. This exhibition is called Divergence IV: Isolink 2020.
Each day of the exhibition they have been releasing artist intro videos and new artwork. It has become an interactive community event with many more people being exposed to their artwork than would generally visit the space.
You can see the exhibition on this event page, along with artist introduction videos where the artist explains in their own words the inspiration for their artwork. There are short descriptions in English as well. I was lucky enough to meet with a few of the artists and organizers on Zoom to learn more about the exhibition and here is what I learned.
Kaung Myat Thu is both an event organizer and artist for the exhibition. His photographic performance is called, “A New Transformation” and depicts his interpretation of the value of communication during this pandemic. Check out the Facebook page and look for a set of images of a man with a telephone on his face. It’s a powerful piece that many can relate to as work has gone virtual for many in 2020.
Artist Zun Thu is another organizer of this exhibition and she explained that her artwork is not a performance piece, but she uses her body as the medium. She communicates what anxiety is like and sets up her camera to photograph herself. The video expresses many emotions associated with the pandemic and evokes a lot of feelings.
Hein Thet Aung created a photographic digital art piece called Pandemic No. 2020. It depicts his belief that the Covid-19 epidemic is just a small piece of the puzzle of many problems facing Myanmar citizens today. Hein Htet uses vibrant colors and models creatively wearing the medical face mask that has become a symbol of this pandemic.
Thyitar, an artist as well as the program manager, mentioned that in December they will also be hosting a virtual art festival with local and international artists. You can see that event on Facebook as well.
I really enjoyed the variety of artwork styles and mediums. When I asked what it has been like sharing their artwork so publicly, Zun said, “This is the first time that we show the public who we are.”