Imagine

I believe that each of us has a unique talent and we have a special role to play in life. But when bounded by circumstances, confronted with challenges and fuelled with scepticism, some may resigned to what life brings and hence may not realize his potential. Even so, I still believe we can. I believe that each of our potential and our role in life is beyond the social roles we played or determined by our profession. It is beyond words, beyond space, beyond time. It is limited by our own imagination.

What your talent? An accountant, a painter, or doctor? Or perhaps a child, a parent or a friend. Think about being a leader or supporter, maybe even a doubter or a destroyer. Why not a sun, a rain, or the wind or colour? Perhaps even a light, a hope, a bridge or a harbour? The possibilities are endless.

There are different roles we could play in life, at different time in a day, in week and in a lifetime. We contribute to this world, regardless if we do so intentionally or not. Why confine yourself to a limited set of roles or possibilities? Who is stopping you from defining them? Ultimately, perhaps one could ask – are you consciously and intently living life or letting time waste it?

In this exhibition, some artists confront the scepticism while others imagine the impossible. But ultimately, each of them is attempting to realise and convey about the significance of each their role in life and hopefully inspire others to also explore and to do likewise.

“Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.” – Alan Turing

Imagine a kinder world – a special commission project by Lu De Sheng & LWH

Many expatriates appreciate the hospitality and friendship that they enjoyed while living in China. However, they have also observed that many Chinese do not respond when Chinese service providers greet them. Some friends have attempted to justify these behaviours due to the Chinese’s reserved nature or the lack of trust in society. Others explained that many Chinese feel that to serve is lowly. It confounds these expatriates how Chinese treat fellow Chinese so differently and do not extend the same courtesy and kindness that they have enjoyed. In this project, we invite people to express gratitude and appreciation to one and all. A video recording will be projected at the entrance of the gallery to welcome all visitors. We believed that as more people jump into this bandwagon, we could make the world a better and kinder place for all. Of course, there will be doubters and others who look at this endeavour with scepticism. But what have we got to lose? Keep doing this and we can the world.

Imagine Your Possibility? 然并卵 (Ran Bing Luan) by Lu De Sheng

As we become more connected and more information is shared across the globe, the world may seem like a harsher place than before. War, famine, refugee, pollution, crime… the list goes on. But has the world indeed become worse? Or it is just our perception of it. Ultimately it is reality. Regardless if we know; do not know; want to know or do not want to know; what is happening around us – has happened. For many people, these issues seem so far away, it has minimal impact on their lives. Indifference, cynicism, resignation they are such a ubiquitous feeling and phenomena that in China that there is new term for it. But if you think about it, is it really that distant from us?

“Ran Bing Luan ” is a popular internet acronym coined in 2015, The phase refers to some thing that seem very complex, but actually there is no substantive effect, nor have the desired outcome. It is used to express frustration and ridicule. This art project attempts to alleviate the sense of helplessness and frustration facing individuals, groups and societies today. We invite participants to express their frustration over issues that they wish to highlight. Participants choose the location that reflect their concerns and take a self -portrait with the 3 Chinese characters imbedded on their naked body. First two Chinese characters ‘然并’ are reflected on the face and chest. The last Chinese character ‘卵’- which means egg, is represented by the reproductive organ.

Imagine the Impossible – by Su Zhen Xiao
We are limited by our senses and influenced by our own interpretation. It is confined by our senses and logic. It is coloured by our predisposition and experiences. But we have a ‘heart’. It is the heart that drives us to bring the seemingly impossible into fruition.

Can fishes be swimming in the air?
Yes, it can. It is in your heart!

Imagine the Origin of Man by Lei Yun Rui

As one grows older, we loose our childlike innocence. Our thoughts and behaviour are coloured by social conditioning and experiences. Our world is tinted by prejudices and emotions. Lei was intrigued by the creation of man and studied the Christian Bible. However, his works exude Buddhism influences. This is because Lei wishes to express the ‘original state of man’ from a philosophical rather than from only a theological perspective. In addition, Lei’s has also skilfully infused a Yin-Yang quality into his works. Each of the glasswork exudes a childlike innocence, but at the same time embodies the strength of a grown man. There is vigour and vulnerability, radiance and serenity. The result is a unique series of artwork that is an eclectic embodiment of influences and ideas from Buddhism, Christianity and Taoism.

Imagine the Power of Love 不可能的爱
by Shunzi 顺子

Fine Point Ink on Paper

Shunzi’s mother was once very ill. But he was not able to be by her side. He was most concerned about her wellbeing and was at lost as to how he could help her. As such he does he what he does best – he paints. For days on ends, painted day and night, hoping that his conviction will touch the heavens. He created one of his largest and most detailed works – of many women in prayer in different directions. The highly decorated woman is inspired by the benevolence and wisdom of a “Bodhisattva” – who is known for compassion and answering man’s prayer in times of need.

In some way, each of Shunzi’s work speaks of love and compassion, between family members, between friends, or even strangers. Love is our life giver, our nurturer, our protector, our harbor.

Shunzi’s mum is now in the pink of health.

This is UTOPIA

Are you living in Utopia? Would you believe that it is right before your eyes? Honestly, I find that hard to believe too. But lets start with a scenario. You are reaching for a cup of coffee on your desk. When you drink it, it is not warm. You are unhappy that it has turned cold. What do you think is the cause of your unhappiness? Is it the fault of the coffee or is it because you can feel the temperature of the coffee? Or is it simply just… You.

We are upset because we ‘expect’ the coffee to be warm. Our wants and desires are often the root cause of our unhappiness. We believe that we are intelligent beings, we can satisfy our wants, dictate our life, our environment, and our world. As such we get upset when things do not go our way.

What if we just appreciate everything, as it is – even that lukewarm cup of coffee? If we could do that, wouldn’t we be happy with all that we have. Wouldn’t we be living in a state of Utopia?

In this exhibition, some of the artworks showcase the artist’s sensitive portrayal of a slice of their heaven on earth, while other express their pursuit of the spiritual utopia. At the other spectrum, there are artworks that deliberate on the mindless decimation of humanity and rampant destruction of cultural heritage by extreme ideological groups.

So…This is Utopia. Or is it?

The Spirit of Utopia
Albert Yonathan, Indonesia

Albert is one of the 5 artists who represented Indonesia for the prestigious Venice Biennale in 2013. His work uses aesthetic elements that encompass contemporary forms combined with semi-traditional nature drawings that hint at the hidden spiritual dimensions and connections. His deeply personal and figurative works attempts to explore the complexity of the interrelationship between humanity and nature. He combines flora or fauna with traditional abstract patterns to create the characteristics of ancient totems. The totems reveal the artist’s fascination with the mystical aspects of nature and spiritually influence human beings. He utilizes simple, forms of animals, flowers and plants to illustrate his spiritual interaction with nature and simultaneously, his parallel, meditative process in making art. His aim was to create mysterious and mystically beautiful images that parallel our experience of nature as both beautiful and mysterious.

I Can Utopia
Harry Young, China

Many a times we think about the challenges faced by those who in the minorities as they faced tremendous pressure to fit in, live up to expectation and be accepted by the majority. But how does the presence of minorities impact the majority is usually an overlooked issue. Sometimes all it takes is one minority to upset the compact equilibrium set out by the majority. From the defiant act of jaywalking to a positive act of helping a blind cross a street, all these daily actions could trigger a flood of reaction and ripple effect that could threaten the equilibrium of the society. So who is to say that the majority holds the power in a society? Can a single person change the world?

Evolution of Utopia
Cao Yuanqi, Zhu Rongfen, Liang Xiaohui, Xu Meihao, China
This artwork evolved from a piece of Tang Dynasty Buddha sculpture. It is made of a resin body infused with pieces of China Daily newspaper article. The article was published in February 2015 and reported about the ISIS attack on the museum in Mosul, Iraq. The terrorist group destroyed thousand year-old relics in name of social, historical, cultural and ideological cleansing. It is a deplorable destruction of humanity’s cultural heritage and tremendous lost for mankind. Although this tragic event occurred in a different part of the world, the artists infused the newspaper article with a Chinese historical artwork to serve as a reflection of their own history. As recent as the Cultural Revolution, many cultural heritage and monuments were systematically destroyed. This Tang Dynasty Buddha fragment served as a testament of the own destructive behaviour.

This other piece of artwork is inspired by the classical symbol of a Buddha’s Aura – symbolizing wisdom and spiritual enlightenment. On its surface, it is filled with a maze of lines and passages that leads to nowhere. It serves as a metaphor of the state of religiosity in China. Today, many Chinese are either indifferent or have a distorted understanding of religion. The lack of clear entrance and exit to the maze represents the failure of religions in addressing this current state of faithlessness and confusion, At the centre of the artwork is a motor bearing. Its form is similar with the Six Trigrams graphics of Chinese Theory of ‘Yi’, which is an ancient spiritual and metaphysical expression. The insertion of this bearing represents the awkward confluence and cross-pollination of modern science, ancient wisdom and religious beliefs.

Super Utopia
Chen Shi Tong, Singapore
London, New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai & Singapore – these are the Utopia of millions of migrants seeking a better life. Although some succeed, many of them struggle to make good, while others fall between the cracks. From Shi Tong’s perspective, it is not just the glamourous skyscrapers that define the city, it is the people who moves it and the creatives that shapes it. Without them, any of these city skylines would have been just a lifeless monolithic landscape. Shi Tong reimagine Chinese classical landscape works by creating strong mountainscapes that are a fusion of muitple media such as oil, acrylic and Chinese ink. The different media speaks of the diverse persona of people and ideas. The powerful landscapes are balanced with a fluidity of textures and colours that is reminiscent of dynamicism and but also and the impermanence of these cities. Ulitmately It is these diverse elements and ideas that makes a city ever changing, ever dynamic, ever Utopia.

Kyaw Nyo

Artist Story

Kyaw Nyo is inspired by the beauty of nature, in particular the native trees of Myanmar and their different leaves. Born in 1980 in Yangon, Kyaw Nyo holds BA in Painting and Oriental Studies from National University of Culture and the Dagon University respectively. He studies the colour, shape, size and texture of leaves, but for him, the texture is the most moving. The techniques he developed enable him to reproduce faithfully the texture of the leaves. On most of these collages, there are several layers of leaves, which he builds up over days and weeks.
 
The starting point for all his works is the natural organic material of the leaf – the emotions evoked in his selection of leaves determines the colours that he will use in these works. He often favours the fiery colours of autumn with reds, gold and yellows. His works often create unexpected vistas from beautiful, but common materials. They make us see the humble leaf in a new way. He selects the leaves for his artworks carefully, looking for ones that suggest different elements to him. Some of the leaves look as if they are flying through the air, while others suggest meditative ponds and flowing water.
 
International Exhibitions
2009 – Myanmar Discovered, Group show, HK
2010 – Myanmar Art & Culture Lecture, Group Show, Boston, USA
2010 – New Beginning, Group show, Princeton, USA
2011 – Gallery Verde, Group Show, New York, USA
2012 – Burma Rising, Art Exhibition, Hamptons, NY, USA
 
Group Exhibitions
2002 – Junior Art Exhibition, Lokanat Gallery, Yangon
2003 – Art Exhibition on Degree Pieces, National Theater, Yangon
2005 – Contemporary Art Exhibition, Sakura Tower, Yangon
2005 – Group Show, Orient Art Gallery, Yangon
2007 – Tun Foundation Art Exhibition, Yangon
2008 – Art Tree Art Exhibition, Old State School of Fine Art, Yangon
2008 – Group Show, Foundation of Loving Kindness Art Exhibition, Yadanapon Hall, Yangon
2009 – Art Tree Art Exhibition, Old State School of Fine Art, Yangon
2010 – Art Tree Art Exhibition, Aligar Gallery, Yangon
2010 – Going Together Art Exhibition, Lokanat gallery, Yangon
2010 – Tun Foundation Art Exhibition, Yangon
2011 – The GIVERS Art exhibition, (Ministry of Culture Art Gallery), Yangon.
2011 – TUN Foundation Art exhibition, Yangon.