Enriching the Blind Tiger’s interior are regular exhibitions by emerging and established artists from Myanmar and beyond.
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In his first overseas display on view at the Blind Tiger, Pranai presents a series of delicately crafted mesmerizing female portraits. Initially captivating in their delicate beauty, Pranai’s thanaka painted women carry weightier symbolism that alludes to enforced rural to urban migration as necessity to escape servitude. Somberly staring out at the viewer, Pranai imbues his subjects with a conflicting aura of both defiance and resignation. Composed with an anthropological directness, yet underpinned with nostalgic sentimentalism, Pranai’s women are emblematic of the economic and cultural changes affecting people in so-called developing nations.
Thai artist Pranai Kasemtavornsilpa attained his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Burapha University in Thailand’s Chonburi province, before gaining a MFA from Silpakorn University in Bangkok. He has earned several domestic art awards including the Toshiba ‘Bring Good Things to Life’ competition (2014 & 2015), and the 1st Krungthai Bank Award (2014). Pranai held his debut solo exhibition at Bangkok’s Number 1 Gallery in 2015, and also regularly features in high-profile group exhibitions.
The Mechanics of Minutiae Abstract Photography by Ma Ei — Celebrated Myanmar Contemporary Artist
In conjunction with MY YANGON MY HOME Art and Heritage Festival
Opens 1 March at 5 pm Exhibition runs through May 2015
The Blind Tiger and curator Nathalie Johnston are thrilled to introduce a new exhibition, The Mechanics of Minutiae: Abstract Photography by Ma Ei. This is Ma Ei’s first ever solo show, as well as the first time she is exhibiting her abstract photographic works, which she has produced since early 2012. These limited edition prints will be shown at The Blind Tiger – a new addition to Yangon’s nightlife as well as a patron and supporter of local and international contemporary art.
Introduction: The Mechanics of Minutiae – Abstract Photography by Ma Ei
Ma Ei studied Physics. She enjoyed the intricacies, the movement and the surprising forms that take shape when working in the laboratory. As in her studies, so in her artwork she attempts to take a closer look at the mechanics of an object. When she spots a refreshing shape, she focuses her lens on a line or color. Manipulating, cropping, cutting and pasting is part of her photographic experience and mimics the activities in a science lab. You might be surprised what materials she uses to create her shapes and colors. An Ovaltine jar, a sheet of plastic wrap, a fishbowl, a glass of soda water, or an oil stain – all part of the minutiae and everyday our eyes pass over without a second glance.
These objects, these photographic moments, represent something valuable for Ma Ei. In her home studio, she discovers a new way of seeing the items she lives with; after closer inspection, finding a treasure within. Her home is her sanctuary, as she prizes solitude and silence. A devoted practitioner of meditation, she builds her artwork through quiet and private experiences, focusing her creative energy toward discovery. Part of her identity as a female artist relates to the struggle and joy of her creative process, and her relation to her artworks as her “treasures.”
Ma Ei was born in 1978 and raised in Dawei, Myanmar. She moved to Yangon to attend Yangon University, where she studied Physics. It was this move to the largest city in Myanmar which inspired her to pursue visual arts. After graduating, she began taking photography and painting classes, joined artist communities, and embarked on a decade-long career as a performance artist, painter, and photographer. She has participated in over 20 groups exhibitions internationally and worked as an artist-in-residence in Japan. As one biographer describes: “As a female artist, Ma Ei often attempts to argue the critical condition of social and cultural norms that most Myanmar women are surrounded by, which she recounted her feministic analysis in her early works.” She is without a doubt a Myanmar contemporary artist to watch, her reputation as an artist who upholds the dignity of the concept, while being open to experimentation with the contemporary.
To mark the official opening of Yangon’s cutting edge entertainment spot the Blind Tiger, the inaugural exhibition Street Speak, features Burmese artists Thu Myat, Wunna Aung and 9Micro, who present individual interpretations of urban art within the unique setting of a contemporary speakeasy.
Street Speak looks at the growing trend for public urban art within SE Asia, and in particular within the context of Yangon, a city on the precipice of significant economic and cultural development. The three emerging artists typically tag their art on the city’s walls, but for this exhibition have sprayed and stenciled their bold, topical compositions on canvas and paper.
Thu Myat (b.1986, Yangon) holds a BA in Business Management and a Diploma in Multimedia. He works in the field of graphic design, and is also a member of the street art crew OKP. He has participated several group exhibitions in Myanmar, Thailand, and Austria.
Wunna Aung (b.1978, Yangon) is a BA graduate in both Music and Creative Writing, as well as studying painting under several prolific artists. He is a member of the ROAR street art crew and has participated in group exhibitions in Myanmar and Thailand.
Ye Heine (b.1991, Yangon) has the street tag 9Micro. Employing graphic design, photography, and spray cans, he has painted commissions for fashion stores, car showrooms, and airline offices. A member of the ROAR crew, he has participated in group exhibitions in Myanmar and undertaken public murals in Singapore.