Wah Nu and Tun Win Aung’s Background

4:06 | Published on May 15, 2013 | 207 Views

Wah Nu and Tun Win Aung reflect on how they collaborate artistically as a family, and discuss ideas of community around their ongoing project to share art and art making in Myanmar’s rural areas. The artists describe how they make use of iconography from their own childhoods, incorporating images by U Ba Kyi, for example, in their work A Thousand Pieces (of White). They also explain the educational impulse and transformational processes behind their ambitious Museum Project.

For more information, please visit the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative.

Download the Transcript (PDF)

Wah Nu: We met in 1994, at university, when we were students. And in 2002, we got married.

Tun Win Aung: We were a very small family. Sometimes, I worked on my own work, and she did her own work. Sometime she painted. So we were very different. But, you know, we were also close, and I talked a lot with her about her work.

Wah Nu: Sometimes he needed assistance, so at those times, I would help him.

Tun Win Aung: Yeah, so, we need each other!

Wah Nu: And sometimes now we need our daughter’s help. Because sometimes her paintings are so cute! We put a painting of hers into our Pieces of White.

Tun Win Aung: Yeah. And then also, sometimes, she gives us ideas for our work, for A Thousand Pieces (of White).

Tun Win Aung: For the exhibition in Tokyo in 2011, we showed some of Pieces of White. For  this exhibition, we chose only things from our childhood. So we collected comic books and children’s journals.  The main artist is U Ba Kyi; he is a very famous artist for children, not only for us. A lot of children now, as in our generation, are very interested in his drawings. These stories teach a lot to young people, about how to live your life and look after other people, and how to love art.

Wah Nu: And how to help each other.

Tun Win Aung: Yeah. This exhibition is like a hero from our childhood memory. Yeah. But in recent years, we’ve been working on another project. We call this Museum Project. 

Wah Nu: We want to question what a museum is. What is our work? What is art? What is . . .

Tun Win Aung: . . . an exhibition?

Wah Nu: An exhibition. So, we intend to introduce . . .

Tun Win Aung: . . . contemporary art, and to introduce it to our people. You know, in Myanmar, most museums and galleries are in Yangon and Mandalay. So, common people who live in the countryside or in villages don’t know about museums. What is a museum? They don’t know. Also, they don’t know about art. What is art? They don’t know. So, we decided to share our knowledge and our practice with these people, and with our friends. We choose a place like a barn or a small hut, then we change . . .

Wah Nu: . . . the interior.

Tun Win Aung: Yeah, the interior, into an exhibition space. 

Wah Nu: We show some of my work, or sometimes our friends’ work if it’s suitable for the space. So, we share ideas about our work: What are our ideas? How do we do things? And how should we present our work?