Saturday, May 19, 2012

Myanmar Art Review (Performance) - Could the lack of nurture causes self-indulgence and chronic repression? Words cannot describe how they feel.

Performance on the streets
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I'm so tired of being negative. Seriously. But in order to feel positive, I believe one must "go into the ashes to rise again as a Phoenix". I don't blame myself for being negative, mind you. Studying psychology, it has to do with your environment. During the course of my own self-investigation, I found the negative symptoms of the mind and actions have a lot to do with lack of self-nurturance. Yes, I got it! Being nurtured from breast milk, and a loving environment are factors for a baby to grow healthily. But the missing link throughout this growth is as we progress into adulthood, and into the working society, the word "nurture" is lost in all the madness.

Stalking a Fella to Find the Place
In fact, I feel positive already. I feel up to the challenge to experience new forms of art. I received an update about an art showcase. I was interested to attend purely because the place where the showcase would be held, is situated very close to where I have my classes. But when I first went to the place, I still managed to get "lost". I followed the directions given and came up to a hotel. Then I walked down, and decide to go to the grocers to buy some refreshments. I was surprised to see a guy that looked a bit like our locals bought a bottle of beer. My mind quickly suspected that he could be Myanmar national, and the location of the showcase must be somewhere nearby! So putting on a normal pedestrian guise, I "stalked" that fellow as he went up to the stairs of the shoplot next to the grocery store, and voila, the Myanmar art showcase. The past artistic events I've attended can be accessed below:
Smartphones Unveiling Event
Fire-y Dragon Displays
Christmas 2011 Display
PC Fair Review KLCC
Student Art Fair
MaSIF Fashion Review
Spring/Summer Display Review
Fashion Show Review
Fashion Sales Preview Party

Props and whatnots
English please...
I was late for the talk, for really, the posting didn't mention the time! But I quietly sat myself down (there's no chairs for visitors) quite near to the glass door behind me. I tried to quiet my mind and focus on the speaker. With him was a translator (also an artist himself). I love how close-knit Myanmar artists can be among themselves. I've taught English language to Myanmar nationals before, so I can understand a bit about their history. Attending the art showcase is to further my understanding into their arts. And my....their arts can be quite "horrific" with plenty of blood-like stains and self-embodiment.

The "invisible" glass door one
 of the guests crashed into
First impression - where are the art pieces?
At first, I was really puzzled by the showcase for there aren't any tangible pieces of art to be seen. The open space of the area only have the projector and table for the speakers, and the rest of it is where the audience have to sit on the floor! What? It's like back to school again, but I understand. Maybe they don't have the budget to bring in chairs for the guests. As I was listening to the speaker and the translator in their half-baked English language, there was a loud thud on the glass door behind me! All of us turned, and a poor fellow walked right into the glass door! Thank goodness, he didn't collapse on the spot and luckily managed to pull himself up.

Blood and gore?
Blood and Gore, please, this is art!
To me, this evening seems like it's going to be unbearable. I was ready to be positive-minded again, and now this! Slides from the projector were shown. I noticed this group of Myanmar artists were more performance-oriented rather than actually producing art pieces. Most of the performances are done at public places. I see some of the performers tackled a lot of their country's issues such as agression, human rights, sexual identity and freedom. The performing artists used a lot of simple props such as umbrella, paper, bags, towels and other pots and pans to express their internally suppressed emotions. Their emotions are more towards the negative side, due to their militaristic government's strict regime. Silently, I kind of expect such forms of art to be produced because most artists would portray their works to reflect their surroundings. It could be also another symptom from the lack of nurturance, in psychological terms.

The artist's self-promotion brochure
Clip your art onto me
One of the artists was smart enough to hand out brochures about his achievements. This form of self-advertisement would surely makes him stood out among the group. I was impressed that he even have his own school! His works are mainly sculptures, and like the other artists in the group, he also performs. Now, I really don't know how to define their public performance as an act of art more or a political demonstration, very much like our country's Bersih 3.0 street protests. Myanmar artists are very politically sensitive, and most of their performances involves the crowds cheering them on. There was this female artist who cooked some food, and then give out the food only to the female audience - an act of protest of why only women have to cook. Another artist handed out balloons to the crowd and asked them to draw a smiley face, then paste it onto the artist himself.

Carved in Stone
It seems there must be a lot of sadness and anger and repression at Myanmar. In some ways, these artists seek to draw out the frustrations, anger or whatever emotions repressed among the crowd. I noticed an artist actually threw money to the crowds! I suppose these artists are filthy rich to be able to do that. Of course the crowds went wild and grab whatever they could. A lot of these performing acts are recorded on video and shown during the showcase.

Ceremonial dance?
Environment dictates its People
You can call it self-indulgence, childish or way out there, but watching these performances make me wonder the importance of nurture or the lack thereof. Environment truly dictates the people, not the other way around. In my mind, I feel these Myanmar artists are actually quite well-to-do, in order for them to pursue art the way they do. Their art speaks volume of who they are as a person, though I'm sure some of them are sincere to open the channels of thinking among the supposedly closed-minded Myanmar society. These artists feel more like actors, with the way they act out using the props provided. It's almost like a mime or wordless theater.

Take a pumpkin and
crack your gourdy head
A Cry for Nurture
Therein lies the similarity with the arts with us. Malaysians do that too. We act out our wayward ways, in the office, home, and most recently at the streets. This art form speaks volume of our environment, which in some ways are no different than our neighbor Myanmar. I believe the question boils down to nurture. Are we getting enough nurturance at our workplace, at home, among friends? If a baby does not get enough milk, the baby will cry incessantly! We must not deny the fact that even as adults, we still need nurturance! I'm not talking about food, cigarettes or your favourite TV show to keep you entertained. I'm referring more on the level of how nurturance can open up our minds and not limit us into shunning out possibilities.
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PS: Next week I'm attending a men's fashion show, so stay tuned on my blog. Perhaps I might review it for you here, but be prepared that the men will be clad in their intimates.

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