Late for Nowhere

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A new direction for sculptor with an art of stone

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Yangon Gallery director Lynn Whut Hmone (left) and artist Nann Nann at the opening of Nann Nann’s “Art in Me” exhibition on August 19.

Artist Nann Nann has always been versatile in her creativity. Since graduating in 1998 from the University of Culture in Yangon with a bachelor of arts degree, she has delved into painting, sculpture and even performance art, holding exhibitions in Myanmar, Thailand, Hong Kong and the United States, and earning numerous awards from organizations both at home and abroad.

Her preferred medium is stone, but opportunities to make the kinds of large-scale sculptures she prefers are rare. Still, she has managed to land several important commissions, including marble sculptures for FMI City in Mandalay and SPA Corporation in Yangon, as well as a bronze piece for Eskala Hotel at Ngwe Saung beach.

“My feeling as an artist is that I want to use stone, but it is a difficult medium. You need a lot of work to make a stone sculpture,” Nann Nann said, adding that she often uses painting as an outlet for unrealized sculptural ideas.

“Since I have few chances to create stone sculptures, I make paintings using thick paints and abstract brushwork to depict space and form. The images look like sculptures on the canvas,” she said. With few chances to make her beloved stone carvings, and with painting restricted to two dimensions, Nann Nann’s latest exhibition, titled Art in Me and opening August 19 at the Yangon Gallery, sees her treading new creative territory: wood sculptures made using found objects.


“For the past six or seven years, I’ve been collecting interesting objects whenever I travel around the country for my painting or sculpture projects,” Nann Nann said. “When I see things I like, I collect them – mostly wood objects you can find at old furniture shops or at monasteries in rural regions. When I see something, sometimes I know right away how I’m going to use it and other times I just collect it because it’s interesting and I figure out later what to do with it.”





Once back in her studio in Yangon, Nann Nann sets about recycling the found objects, sometimes polishing or painting the wood, sometimes adding new elements or designs to create something different.

“It’s interesting to me when I find a wood carving that represents something real, for example a woman or an elephant. There is a name attached to it – you can identify what the object represents,” she said. “After I recycle the object, it still has that same name, but when you look at it from afar, it looks more abstract. You can’t tell exactly what it is.”



One untitled piece showing in the Art in Me exhibition originated as a wood sculpture of a man rowing a traditional canoe. Nann Nann upended the boat so it stands vertically, then affixed a dim light inside that emits a feeble but warm glow.


“When you see the dim light, it reminds you of a small fishing village. If you have ever been to a fishing village near the ocean, the environment is very tranquil and the house lights are dim. I want to give you that feeling. I’m not just turning the sculpture into a lamp. Each piece in the exhibition is trying to convey a different feeling,” she said.

For Nann Nann, evoking particular emotions is what making art is all about. It’s something she learned from her parents – both of whom are well-regarded painters – as well as from the many art teachers from whom she has learned over the years.

“I put all my emotions into my art works. It makes me feel good when I’m making something new and I get a strong feeling inside,” she said. “When I get inspiration from within myself, I just want to create and create.”


This story was originally published in the August 19-25, 2016, edition of The Myanmar Times Weekend magazine.

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Written by latefornowhere

August 20, 2016 at 2:43 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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