Wah Nu and Tun Win Aung’s Video Works

3:31 | Published on May 15, 2013 | 135 Views

Wah Nu and Tun Win Aung discuss the use of personal and political archival footage in their video artworks. They talk about the censorship that was rife prior to 2010, and how the situation has since changed. They also elucidate the ways in which their sculptural and video work Four Pieces (of White) references the role of General Bogyoke Aung San in Myanmar’s independence. Wah Nu also mentions her grandfather’s participation in the historic Long March that is highlighted in one of their videos.

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Tun Win Aung: Before 2010, we faced a lot of censorship. If you wanted to do an exhibition, or a performance, or something, you needed permission. But after 2010, or 2011, a lot changed. In exhibitions or festivals, you could show anything you wanted. You could show your political views in your work. So it’s okay now, yeah.

Tun Win Aung: So, for this exhibition, we chose one of Bogyoke Aung San’s images, forty busts of Aung San’s statue, and his last speech.

June Yap: General Aung San is the father of Aung San Suu Kyi. The speech by General Aung San was given at a point in time during Myanmar’s independence, which would have been in the 1940s, and which the artists then managed to hear in a broadcast about two decades ago. That made them curious to research and to seek out that speech. And then there is another video that is of Wah Nu’s grandfather in a historical moment, the Long March. 

Wah Nu: My grandfather is a famed director and writer. But at that time, he was a young politician.

Tun Win Aung: Yeah. This was a very important revolution, fighting against the British colonial government in about 1938. At that time, the Long March started in the middle of the country and ended in the city of Yangon. That’s about four hundred miles.

June Yap: The clip that she has is very short, only about three seconds long, so she repeats it to produce an effect like the March itself. I think that, because of the country’s political upheavals, a lot of narratives have been lost, and a lot of historical materials have been lost. 

Tun Win Aung: In our work, we never think only about the political view. We have no need to work as politicians; we are just artists! So we focus our personal view on artwork. This exhibition is focused on the history of South and Southeast Asia.

Wah Nu: It’s fantastic.

Tun Win Aung: Even though we both come from South and Southeast Asia, our traditions are so different. Thailand, Myanmar, India, and maybe Bangladesh are all very different religions, with very different ways of thinking, and are also very different from where we come from. This exhibition is a very good chance to find out more about our own history and identity.