Than Kyaw Htay

Artist Name: Than Kyaw Htay
Born: 1978 in Sittwe, Rakhine State, Myanmar
Education: 1997-2000 Studied at State School of Fine Art, Yangon , 2000 Studied Under Win Pe Myint

Artist Statement
Silent Sweat
In seeing the subject painted from behind, the viewer asks a completely different question. Instead of reacting to the scene in a personal way, the viewer questions how is it that the subject interacts with the setting. Than Kyaw Htay is best known for his Pa’oh series, depicting villagers in brilliant headscarf. The vivid colors represent a longing for a brighter future. Originally, he painted their backs because Burma turned its back on the world. Now, viewing them from behind encompasses an entirely new meaning.

Today, the artist is able to see his native Rakhine State through a different lens. Recalling the days of his youth, he watched children walk for miles just to fetch a small amount of clean water. They carry the iconic zinc pots – beautiful but inefficient. Each day they toil, dedicating their life to little more than survival. No one outside of Rakhine sees their struggle, their Silent Sweat.

With ongoing solo shows in Thailand and France, Than Kyaw Htay brings his new series to Taiwan. The beautiful works emphasize the reality of life in a forgotten land. Painted from behind, the Rakhine people contrast sharply with the ancient temples, at once blurred from both past and future. The subjects, however, are vivid, a clear reminder that even those forgotten by modernization can still have hope. In sharing their Silent Sweat, Than Kyaw Htay reminds the world of those forgotten people. The scenes depict the artist’s understanding of his country today – a country changing both too fast and not fast enough.

Silent Sweat
In seeing the subject painted from behind, the viewer asks a completely different question. Instead of reacting to the scene in a personal way, the viewer questions how is it that the subject interacts with the setting. Than Kyaw Htay is best known for his Pa’oh series, depicting villagers in brilliant headscarf. The vivid colors represent a longing for a brighter future. Originally, he painted their backs because Burma turned its back on the world. Now, viewing them from behind encompasses an entirely new meaning.
Today, the artist is able to see his native Rakhine State through a different lens. Recalling the days of his youth, he watched children walk for miles just to fetch a small amount of clean water. They carry the iconic zinc pots – beautiful but inefficient. Each day they toil, dedicating their life to little more than survival. No one outside of Rakhine sees their struggle, their Silent Sweat.

With ongoing solo shows in Thailand and France, Than Kyaw Htay brings his new series to Taiwan. The beautiful works emphasize the reality of life in a forgotten land. Painted from behind, the Rakhine people contrast sharply with the ancient temples, at once blurred from both past and future. The subjects, however, are vivid, a clear reminder that even those forgotten by modernization can still have hope. In sharing their Silent Sweat, Than Kyaw Htay reminds the world of those forgotten people. The scenes depict the artist’s understanding of his country today – a country changing both too fast and not fast enough.

Art Exhibition
Solo Show

  • 2004 New Treasure Art Gallery, Yangon
  • 2006 “Ladies in Colour” at Azada Art Gallery, Yangon
  • 2011 The Vital” Ministry of Culture Art Gallery, Yangon

Group Show

  • 2000 Treasure Art Gallery, Yangon
  • 2001 Welcome to Thingyan, Group Show, Bogyoke Market, Yangon
  • 2004 Yangon International Hotel, Yangon
  • 2004 Myanmar Contemporary Art Awards – Exhibition of Finalists, Yangon
  • 2006 Page 2006, Group Show, Lakkanat Gallery, Yangon
  • 2007 Photographs by Artists, Photo Show, Yangon
  • 2007 Page 2007, Group Show, Yadanabon Art Gallery, Yangon
  • 2008 Myanmar Contemporary Art Awards Exhibition of Finalists, Yangon
  • 2008 Truth, Beauty and Joy, Thamada Art Hall, Yangon
  • 2008 6th Colourful Petals Art Exhibition, Yangon
  • 2009 Sense 09 Art Show, Parkroyal Hotel, Yangon
  • 2010 7th Colourful Petals Art Show, Yangon
  • 2010 Friends Art Show, Two Man Show, New Treasure Art Gallery, Yangon
  • 2010 5th Pink Window, Lokkanat Gallery, Yangon
  • 2011 The Triumph of Impasto Art Exhibition, Dagaung Art Gallery, Yangon
  • 2011 Myanmar National Portrait Competition 2011, FINALIST exhibition, The Strand Hotel, Yangon
  • 2011 “the Givers’ Group Show, Yangon, Myanmar
  • 2011 Artist Thu Kha Memorial Show, New Treasure Art Gallery
  • 2012 Page 2012 Art Exhibition, Lokanat Art Gallery
  • 2012 Other Face of Nature Group Exhibition, Lokanat Art Gallery
  • 2012 Colourful Step Art Show, Garden Home Art Gallery 2013 Northern Breeze Art show, Myanmar artists association gallery 2014 Golden Land Art Exhibition, New Idea Art Gallery 2014 2nd Northern Breeze Art show, Myanmar artists association gallery

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