Yangon Art Expo 2017 to kick off this weekend

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the painting by local artist Khin Maung Zaw

The Yangon Art Expo 2017 will be held from November 4th to 12th with an objective of exhibiting artwork that represents ‘the status, the influences and the changes in Myanmar artistic, cultural and social context.’

The work of seventy two Myanmar artists will be displayed in a new exhibition space on the 24th floor of the recently opened Junction City Tower. Artists come from around Myanmar including some major names in the art scene such as Aung Aung Taik, U Lun Gywe and Nyein Chan Su will exhibit their work as well as some up-and-coming artists who are making a name for themselves in the contemporary art scene. Work on display will take the form of painting, sculpture, street art, installation and visual poetry.

The same organisers faced criticism among the Myanmar artist community when they tried to organize a similar event earlier this year, a biennale which they entitled ‘YaB 2017/Art Park Expo.’ In fact, a group of prominent local artists including renowned artist Htein Lin, sent a letter to the Italian embassy in Yangon called for a change of name. They expressed concern over the motives of the organisers and how the artists would benefit from the exhibition.

The expo is organized by Culture2All, an Italian NGO which has previously organized and event in Italy, ‘Myanmar Art Italy 2016’ at which Myanmar had its own space at the XXI Trienniale of Milan.

“We organized a commission of Italian art critics, historians and professors of art who all together expressed their choice of Myanmar artists so we are working together with them for all the projects,” explained Eugenia Battisti, curator of the exhibition.

“In Myanmar, they don’t have anything about what we call in western semantics ‘curatorship’. The curator is a person or group of people who elaborate on an artists’ work and create and organize an exhibition,” said Mauro Salvemini, president and art director at Culture2All.

A percentage of funds from the sale of the artwork will go towards funding the NGO’s educational workshops named ‘Cultural Heritage and Villages’ which they plan to have in four sites around Myanmar which are locations of lesser known cultural heritage sites. It is unclear as to where the remainder of the sale price will go and what ownership the artists will have on their own work once submitted.

Visitors who wish to be guided around the exhibit may contact Eugenia Battisti (English and Italian) on 099 5283 2802 or Artist Khin Maung Zaw (English and Burmese) on 094 3098 499. Donations welcome.

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