Synthesis of Myanmar Modernity
The beginning of modern architecture in Myanmar is closely linked to the achievement of independence in 1948. The research Project Synthesis of Myanmar Modernity investigates how modernization transformed the built environment of Myanmar. Questioning architecture and urban planning in Myanmar had fallen silent for decades. Now, after the newly forming of democracy, the interest in modern architecture is thriving again. A young generation of architects and scholars, as well as the general public, are asking about the historical significance and current value of the architectural heritage of this period. But in a multi-ethnic society, with a population that speaks hundreds of different dialects, the renegotiation of modern architecture and its values is a great challenge. Further the interactions with religion, politics and technology must be taken into account, as well as relating developments in the Southeast Asian region.
The exhibition Synthesis of Myanmar Modernity critically, creatively and collectively analyses how modernity was translated into an architectural language in Myanmar. Drawings, historical and contemporary images, examine modernist public buildings such as Tripitaka Library, Martyr’s Mausoleum or Yangon Regional Parliament. The work “Irene”, edited by Swiss photographer Lukas Birk, gives a more private view on modern living in the 1960s and 70s through a collection of photos from this period. The filmmaker Kriz Chan Nyin captured video interviews with eminent artists and architects like U Shwe, U Sun Oo, or U Win Phae.
Presentations by international curators, artists, architects and scholars on architecture modernities in Phnom Penh, Jakarta, Singapore and their intertwining with political, social and cultural narrations contextualize the view on Myanmar.
Synthesis of Myanmar Modernity is curated by Pwint, Professor, Deputy Head of Department of Architecture – Yangon Technological University, and Win Thant Win Shwin, Architect & Planner – Mandala art & design.