Phyo Mon - artist, writer, poet (Myanmar)

Fellow of the Sylt Foundation
Myanmar artist Phyo Mon is joyning the Sylt Foundation's Transformation and Identity Programme and will spend the months of april and may 2018 for a residency at the foundation's headquarter on the german island of Sylt.
The opening workshop of the Transformation and Identity Programme had taken place in Myanmar in april 2017. Invited local artists and from all over the world met to discuss "Violent Memories - Transformation and Trauma. How do artists and writers respond?"

 "Phyu Mon's dominant concern is with the status of women, their inner tensions and despair at the Challenges they face. Through her connectedness with time, place and situation, Phyu Mon has Produced an allegorical body of work that offers a rare contemporary engagement with moral Consciousness in a world that prefers to bury its horrors” - Shireen Naziree (Curator)

Her highly talented work has delighted art lovers and collectors at public exhibitions in among Countries and be collected by Gerard De Geer private museum collection, Sweden

Phyo Mon

Phyu Mon (b. 1960) is regarded as one of Myanmar’s most profiled conceptual artists. The Mandalay born artist graduated from Mandalay University with a BA in literature. However she studied painting under U Ba Thaw for a year between 1978 and 1979. She accepted the Diploma of photography from Myanmar Photography Association and Photo creation and editing Diploma from High tech training school.2013. In 2014 she accepted the Postgraduate diploma from Yangon Art and Culture University. She is one of the very few women artists in Myanmar who currently works with digital photography, visual art, poem and writing as short story.

Though Phyu Mon had exhibited her Symbolic paintings in-group exhibitions since 1985 and became a renowned poet and writer, she developed a keen interest in conceptual art from her husband Chan Aye, who encouraged her to pursue Contemporary art media and writing. During the 1997s when it was quite rare for a woman artist to present a ‘One Woman Performance’ Phyu Mon performed her piece of Human Being Object that the name was beginning for the end and it was the first of appearing of Lady’s performance art in Myanmar. This was to be followed by a number of shows both in Myanmar and abroad.

However Phyu Mon is best known as a leading digital artist. Digital art that she had studied in a program organized by the University of Finland allowed her to visualize her contemporary commentary and importantly to work at the intersection of several coherent themes, particularly with regard to issues related to women in Myanmar, often fractured by prejudices, cultural philosophies, the subservient position of women and the economic realities that have encompassed Myanmar. At a time when feminine art practice in Myanmar could be termed as ambiguous, Phyu Mon’s broad conceptual art practice including not only her digital artworks but also performance, video, Poetry sound art and installation art. Phyu Mon initiated the ‘Blue Wind Multimedia Art Festival’ in …2009 at Myanmar National Museum.

Phyu Mon - Dream

Phyu Mon - Performance

Phyu Mon - Beyound Pressure performance festival 2010

Phyu Mon has also been an active short story writer for the past twenty years. Some of these stories speak so eloquently of a woman’s inner feelings contrasting with her outward behavior, especially with a man she loves. A most delightful story entitled, “The Bride, the Mirror, the Cloud, and the Bridegroom,” expresses a theme of wanting union with another, but unwilling to sacrifice one’s own identity and desires in the bargain. As one reads this story, the tension between wanting to please another and being true to oneself is quite palpable.

Knowing Phyu Mon’s familiarity with the Dada and Surrealists movements, it is not a stretch to believe that some of the symbols in this story were influenced by Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even. The bride in her story is intimately connected with clouds, as is the bride in Duchamp. The division of emotional capability between the man and the woman in Phyu Mon’s story constructs similarities with The Bride Stripped Bare… -- an exploration of male and female desire in a dance of opposition and complication as they try, but fail, to come together satisfactorily.

Phyu Mon largely addresses her themes through a Dada/Surrealist idiom that as magical realism. This is perhaps an ideal approach for a Myanmar artist who desires to be forthright, yet circumspect. The symbolism allows the knowledgeable viewer to read the layers of meaning, yet veils those same themes to a less astute, censorious eye.

 Her Performance of “Borders within and without:” the perfect metaphor for an keenly aware, deeply sensitive woman artist – in the reality that is Myanmar today. One of her poems had translated to Japan language by Ma Pan Khet, Dido foundation published 2015.Her one poem was in Myanmar Contemporary poems book by France Language, published by Alliance Françoise.

Some of her poems and interviews were broadcasted on Myanmar radio station of Mandalay FM Radio, Padamya FM Radio. And interview with her about art were broadcasted BBC TV Art News, CNT Cambodia TV News, Myanmar MITV Art program and Kamayut Online TV Art program.

She has experienced International Photography Festival and media art event in many countries. Her art works have exhibited in Japan, Thailand, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Denmark, Spain, USA, UK, Italy and France.

Phyu Mon was selected one of strongly famous Myanmar women fifty by The Myanmar Time News Paper 2013.