Ongoing Echos 2: Indonesia-Myanmar Art exchange

After a successful first event in Yangon in 2010, the second edition of the “Ongoing Echos” exchange between artists from Myanmar/Burma and Indonesia was held in March 2011 in Indonesia, on the Island of Bali. 12 artists from Myanmar/Burma and Indonesia jointly presented their artwork in the Tanah Tho Gallery in Ubud. Four artists from Myanmar, Kaung Su, Sandar Kaing, Hein Thit and Zun Ei Phyu traveled to Ubud to present their own artworks as well as the artwork of two other fellow artists from Myanmar (Aye Ko, Kyu Kyu). The Indonesian artists included Antonius Kho, Sujana Kenyem, Ronald Apriyan, Bahatir Dwi Susanto, Hery Purwanto, Lugas Syllabus, all from different parts of Indonesia.

The exhibition was curated by the Indonesian curator Arif Bagus Prasetyo who put the theme of the exhibition in the context of globalization and cultural internationalism/Imperialism. According to him...”Facing the opportunities that globalization provides (democratization, equality, freedom of expression, etc.) as well as the challenge (tensions of cultural sentiments) and the danger (cultural imperialism/monoculturalism leading toward identity crises), the pluralistic value of culture must be treasured and expanded. True pluralism can only be realized under the foundation of mutual subjectivity where the subject does not exclude others. The cultural exchange should be held as preservation of the cultural diversity by valuing the different cultural identities.”

Despite the wide range of art trends reflected in the works of the different artists the curator recognizes a “red thread” which connects all artists: “Their creative work seems to be a pilgrimage to find the oasis of the authentic existence in the desert of contemporary reality. Their artistic endeavor is an attempt to bring forth their existential experiences as they connect with the world. Their artworks reflect an existential movement of the self as it struggles to embrace reality as authentically as possible”.
During an artist talk before the opening on March 9 and a press conference with the local media the artists from Myanmar/Burma answered questions about the contemporary art scene in their country as well as the history of the Ongoing Echos event and other issues. The exhibition opening on 9 March in the evening attracted almost 200 visitors. During their stay on Bali the artists from Myanmar/Burma also had the chance to visit a number of galleries, museums and fine art studios. Discussions with local art gallery representatives resulted in the plan for a further art exchange project possibly to be held in 2012 in Jakarta. The artist exchange was an important chance for all artists involved to learn about each other and recognize their shared experiences. This might help the artists, according to the curator, “to strengthen (themselves) in bargaining with globalization processes and its consequences”.

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For further information please contact the Myanmar/Burma Program coordinator: program3[at]