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b. 1946, Yangon, Myanmar
Aung Myint was born in 1946 in Yangon, Myanmar (formerly Rangoon, Burma). He earned a degree in psychology from the Rangoon Arts and Science University in 1968. In 1989, he founded the Inya Gallery of Art in Yangon. Despite the governmental censorship and limitation of cultural life in Myanmar, Aung Myint has continued to make art that exists outside the boundaries of official edict. A self-taught artist, he began working primarily in painting and installation, extending his practice to include performance in 1995. Aung Myint experiments with medium and form to explore themes of cultural identity and personal memory. His practice often questions the place of small collectives within larger communities, both within and beyond the borders of his homeland.
Aung Myint’s series of monochromatic drawings, Mother and Child (2002–2008), turns single, unbroken lines of black acrylic into gestural forms loosely reminiscent of the pietà. The lines’ fluid continuity evokes the intimate physical connection of the two figures. Aung Myint’s work is informed by the artist’s feelings of loss and abandonment at the death of his mother when he was an infant, and can be interpreted as a self-portrait based on the universal theme of the maternal relationship. Representative of his openness to a variety of media is Self-Portrait, a photographic series and installation conceptualized in the 1990s in which the artist is depicted removing his usual outfit of button-down shirt, longyi (Burmese sarong), and sandals. His prosaic act of draping each article across the back of a chair conveys an atmosphere of intimate familiarity and a sense of global connectedness. This exploration is continued in World Series: Five Continents Tattered (2010). Having painted the five continents on a canvas, the artist repeatedly punctured its surface before stitching up the holes, creating a random pattern of scars. Represented almost as a single landmass, the continents are covered in red x’s, at times so densely that the breadth and intensity of the bloodshed for which they stand becomes impossible to ignore. The stitches symbolize the potential for healing between countries of opposing politics, religions, and beliefs, and act as a reminder of the potential for change.
Aung Myint received the Juror’s Choice Award at the Philip Morris Group of Companies ASEAN Art Awards in Bali (2002). He has had solo exhibitions at Inya Gallery of Art, Yangon (1994), Judson Church Centre, Yangon (1996), Lokanat Galleries, Yangon (1999, 2001, and 2005), Shinseido Hatanaka Art Gallery, Tokyo (1999), Kentler International Drawing Space, Brooklyn (2002), Karin Weber Gallery, Hong Kong (2003 and 2007), and Yavuz Fine Art, Singapore (2010). Notable group exhibitions include: Omnibus: Five Artists from Myanmar, Voice Gallery, Kyoto (1995); 6th Nippon International Performance Art Festival, Japan (1999); Identity, Blue Space Contemporary Art Centre, Ho Chi Minh City (2006); and the Festival of Contemporary Theatre and Performance Art, Alliance Française, Yangon, organized by the Myanmar collective Theatre of the Disturbed (2008). Aung Myint lives and works in Yangon.