The exhibition Synthesis of Myanmar Modernity was curated by Pwint and Win Thant Win Shwin together with the artistic directors of Encounters with Southeast Asian Modernism. More than 150 guests attended the opening of the exhibition on 20 November 2019 at Goethe-Institut Myanmar.
After a welcome by Leonard Krüger, the Goethe-Institut programme manager, Sally Below, Moritz Henning, and Christian Hiller introduced the international context of the project and the special status of the exhibition in Yangon. Neither in Germany nor in Myanmar itself had the history of modern architecture in Yangon been the subject of substantial examination until now. The programme initiated by Encounters with Southeast Asian Modernism therefore provided a crucial impulse to intensify research on the more recent architectural history of Yangon. The great interest of the broad audience proved the relevance of looking closer into this topic in the future.
Following the introduction, the two local curators, Pwint and Win Thant Win Shwin, explained the exhibition. Then Sereypagna Pen, co-curator of the SEAM Space Phnom Penh, gave an overview of the activities of the Cambodian contribution Folding Concrete. Setiadi Sopandi, who curated the exhibition Occupying Modernism with Avianti Armand, arrived from the airport just in time to give insight into the content of their programme in Jakarta.
While drinks and finger food were served, lively discussions developed quickly. The mixed audience, which consisted of architects, artists, and many students from Myanmar as well as culturally interested expats, visibly enjoyed the stimulating atmosphere in the historic villa. Myanmar’s state television station, MRTV, was present that evening and interviewed curator Win Thant Win Shwin.
A special honour was the attendance of renowned Myanmar architect U Shwe, who gave a rare interview as part of the project. Throughout the evening, he was surrounded by curious guests whose manifold questions he patiently answered.