EY Asean Art Outreach program presents Myanmar artist Nay Myo Say’s solo debut in Singapore on Buddhism in contemporary art

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Singapore, 30 January 2013 – EY opens Natri Puja by Myanmar artist Nay Myo Say at the EY Gallery today. This 13th exhibition of the EY Asean Art Outreach program will run from 30 January to 31 May 2013.

Nay Myo draws inspiration from Myanmar’s traditions and cultures and is known for his ability in capturing the movements of human figures and the use of swift lines and bold colors. Titled in Pali or a sacred Buddhist language, the exhibition, Natri Puja means “worshipping the Buddha with art” where Nay Myo portrays traditionally dressed women dancing gracefully in front of Buddha images. Interestingly, this reflects the lyrical part of the artist’s identity – Nay Myo was a singer and composer before he started painting. Combining traditional subjects, composition and technique, Nay Myo’s paintings exude modernity and a strong sense of power, and gracefulness at the same time.

About the exhibition, Natri Puja

Natri Puja is Nay Myo’s first solo exhibition in Singapore portraying oversized Buddha figures and traditionally dressed women dancing and offering prayers. Although there is no tradition of dance within the worship of Buddha in Theravada Buddhism, the artist’s interpretation of worship is an act of gratitude for the teachings that Lord Gautama Buddha had left behind for his disciples to learn the path of salvation. Nay Myo had incorporated movements where his subjects’ heads were turned or bowed in poses of humbleness as if in penance, and their hands raised in supplication as if asking for forgiveness, not from a deity but from their own selves.

The Buddha images are impassive but compassionate, and the tranquillity of the faces of the images seems to foretell that all will be well. Despite the somber mood that these paintings exude, there is also a strong sense of power in the way he has caught each movement and nuance of emotion with his unique use of colors and lines.

In this latest collection, Nay Myo used a wide range of mediums in one collage, white and black photographs, acrylic paint, flower designs, gold leaves and strip of Pali texts to build colors and texture. Trained by renowned impressionist master U Lun Gywe, Nay Myo has become one of the most prolific artists in Myanmar, having mastered a wide variety of media including oil, acrylic, gouache, watercolor and charcoal.

Natri Puja 01, Natri Puja 06 and Natri Puja 08 are three of Nay Myo’s personal favorite paintings featured in this exhibition. Please see Appendix A for a list of the exhibited works.

About the artist, Nay Myo Say
(Source: Curatorial review by Ma Thanegi)

After graduating from the Institute of Medicine in Yangon, Nay Myo chose to pursue a profession as an artist instead and became a painter in the early 1990s. Before painting, he was a successful singer and composer.

Over the past two decades of his career as an artist, he has gone through several periods of using different styles such as collages, caricatures, outdoor studies, portraits and sketches, and a wide variety of mediums such as charcoal, pastels, oil, acrylic, gouache, watercolors, inks and pencils. In one period, he based his paintings on the motifs, lines and colors of the Bagan lacquerware that has flourished for almost a thousand years. He has painted a diversity of subjects such as cityscapes, landscapes, human figures, still life and non-objectives. The styles, subjects and mediums were varied as they were his own commentaries at different stages of his life. His skill in colors makes his art powerful. Also, his lines are pure and fluid, which is another of his unique qualities, a strength that equates with the richness and depth of his colors. Nay Myo wants his paintings to be strong, either in line or color, or composition if not all together.

The core of his creativity is his strong attachment to the traditional and centuries-old cultures of his country, Myanmar. While Nay Myo draws inspiration from Myanmar traditions, the combination of subjects, composition and technique makes his art modern.

Nay Myo has participated in numerous exhibitions in Myanmar and overseas including Thailand, Hong Kong, the US and the UK. 

Overseas exhibitions
2010   Ancient Women, Suvannabhumi Gallery, Chiang Mai, Thailand
2008   Anyein, Suvannabhumi Gallery, Chiang Mai, Thailand
2007   Unmasked, Karin Weber Gallery, Hong Kong
Nudes, Suvannabhumi Gallery, Chiang Mai, Thailand
2006   Dancers, Gallery Plan B, Palm Beach, Florida, US
The Quiet Wind, Togonon Gallery, San Francisco, US
2005   Collages, Karin Weber Gallery, Hong Kong
2002   Phillip Morris ASEAN Art Award 2002 Exhibition, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia
2001   Small 2 Exhibition, Pranato Gallery, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
2000   Nude Images, Emerald Hill Gallery, Singapore
Dancers, Asian Contemporary Art Gallery, London, the UK
Phillip Morris ASEAN Art Award 2000 Exhibition, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
1995   Singapore Art Exhibition 1995, IMM Building, Singapore
Exhibitions in Yangon, Myanmar
2011   Sketches from the West, International Business Center
2006   Nudes, River Gallery, Strand Hotel
2005   Collages, Mindon Hall, Sedona Hotel
2002   Oriental Movement 2, Summit Park View Hotel
2001   Oriental Movement with Katya Tyshler, the Russian Artist, Beikthano Gallery
1999   A series of Portrait, Lokanat Galleries

About EY Asean Art Outreach program
This is the 13th exhibition of the EY Asean Art Outreach program. The program was started in October 2007 with the dual objectives of promoting the development of art in the region and contributing back to the community, as part of the firm’s corporate social responsibility program. 20% of the sale proceeds from the exhibitions are donated to three local charities: the Lions Befrienders Service Association (Singapore), the NCC Research Fund and Club Rainbow (Singapore).

The past 12 exhibitions have raised close to S$167,000 in total for the three local charities through the sale of works of Singaporeans Ho Sou Ping and the late Chua Ek Kay; Vietnamese Hà Mạnh Thắng, Lý Hùng Anh and Phạm Huy Thông; Myanmar Zaw Win Pe; Malaysians Chong Siew Ying, Hamir Soib, Ahmad Shukri Mohamed, Umibaizurah Mahir and Kow Leong Kiang; Java-born New Zealander John van der Sterren and Filipino Marina Cruz.

The EY Gallery is located in EY’s office at One Raffles Quay, North Tower, Level 18. The exhibition is open to the public on Tuesdays (12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.) and Wednesdays (5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.), from 30 January to 31 May 2013. Viewing is by appointment only. The public is encouraged to call +65 6535 7777 to make an appointment at least three days before visiting.

Click here to view the list of works in Natri Puja.



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