River Art Gallery
Managed by charming, New Zealand expat Gil Pattison, this light-filled gallery in the ground-floor annex of the Strand hotel serves as a showcase for Myanmar’s burgeoning contemporary art scene, which is varied, deeply impressive and (as of yet) shockingly affordable. Pattison has a trove of stories about launching a serious gallery in a country whose two main art schools offer incredibly restricted training (for example, live nude drawing sessions are unheard of). The quality of the work speaks to the imagination and tenacity of the artists, mostly Yangon-based.
During my visit, I loved the bright abstract landscapes of Zaw Win Pe; the moving alienation of the people in Yan Naing Tun’s monochromatic paintings; and the craftsmanship of the works by Nann Nann (one of the very few women artists) who applies goldleaf to acrylics to startling effects. The River Gallery is a must-stop for art connoisseurs.
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