Actually, it was just Wah Nu doing the talking. She was covering the duo's Art & Museum Experience: their initiative to create pop-up museums all over the lesser towns and villages of Myanmar. 
It started out with visits to her parents' village, in  Thingangyun. They put up a little shack and started to sell their own personally doctored postcards, stamps, as artworks. That ended up being Museum Project #1.
Then the artist Aung Ko (Nge Lay's husband) invited them to Thuyedan, where they decided to set up the Thuyedan Museum of Folk Art. They brought a sack of toys from Yangon, offered to trade them for the wooden toys of the kids, recording their stories, the histories of these artefacts of joy.

Just to be museological, they spray-painted the items white for exhibition. 

Then something happened and they couldn't do the exhibition. They don't want to say what.
Project #4 was the Thanlyin Museum of Kinetic Art - the aritst Zar Min Htike collected waste plastic, shot a blowtorch over it and formed a roseate translucent humanoid - he likes to create stuff out of his dreams, he says, or nightmares.
What we saw in Mingon - the Mingun Museum of Contemporary Art - was Project #5. They've actually been going to Mingun every January since 2007.
Wah Nu: Every year we go to that village and stay there because we love the nature, the village and its environment, like this. So we made a performance, videos and site-specific installations with the environment in the village in the hill nearby.
That's May Phue Tet's Dress (Deep Blue) above, plus Min Thein Sun's original Another Realm, a recreation in fabric of a toy gun he played with as a child.

What's next? Well, there's the Minol Museum of Storytelling, featuring music, puppetry, etc. And the Ywallut Museum of Pop Art (for some reason #6), held in a seasonally empty empty rice barn. (Look at the spherical mobiles they've made out of traditional papier-maché toys!)
As mentioned before, Museum Project #7 will be feature digital-interactive artist Phyoe Kyi. It'll be the Taungyi Museum of New Media Art - and somehow I couldn't quite make out if it's going to be an open-air museum or an online museum which visitors access via clicks of the mouse. Or both.
Tun Win Aung finally spoke up during the Q&As, when KS asked about the purpose behind all this museum-ing. 
Tun Win Aung: First, we travel around our country, we see some small village and small town. We were interested in small architecture, small rooms, small hut, or maybe a barn, we were just interested in this.

Second, when we travelled around the country we saw some material, artefacts, something for their daily life. And sometime we thought, even though this is not so called artwork, we thought that it looked like artwork, it looked like a piece by an artists.

Third, we want to share our opportunities with our friends. We need to give a favour to my friends, my students, also my wife, my daughter. We need to share a lot. So for these three things, we had an idea to make this small scale museum. For a result, we were thinking about people. In Myanmar, we have not so many museums, some in Yangon, in Mandalay, for archaeologists. 

So when we discussed with the villages, they asked what we make. They don’t know about the artwork. They thought like a museum is so far to them. So we need to introduce what is a museum, what is artwork to the people. That is why, it is just for us.
On reflection, I should've asked something about all these imported buzzwords - pop art, new media art, folk art. What the hell's next? Baroque?


Leave a Reply