Since I opened my studio in 2009, I have been working very hard to become one of the leading portraitists and artists in Myanmar.
In my series of underwater portraits I want to express the aspiration to get rid of the fear that has prevailed during the fifty years of military dictatorship in Myanmar. Since 2010, the country has a quasi-civilian government but freedom from fear is still only a dream for most people. Like our parents, the younger generation in Myanmar still feel that we are kind of survivors. It is so hard to breathe in our society, just like underwater. Everybody’s dream is directly related to the political situation and the coming elections in November. Shall we be able to take a big breath soon? After photographing a series of young people looking at life from underwater, I asked them what it meant for them, what they felt. They talked about their frustrations, about being jobless after studying sometimes a decade, about having to leave abroad to have a chance to succeed, about having to shut up and refrain to tell the truths.
On a more individual level, I am interested to express the challenges of the new generation of independent and successful women in a traditional society in which we are supposed to give up our aspirations and career once we get married. I also demand the possibility to combine a successful career with a spiritual life. A woman can be two sides of a coin : be trendy and on the other hand truly religious and spiritual by becoming a temporary nun if we wish to. We are capable of performing different roles in our lives. We can have a successful life in the material world and also explore our conscious and unconscious mind with meditation.
In my last series, Self-portrait IDs, I use this minor and old-fashioned mean of photography, often mechanical, to explore with myself the concept of multiple identity and the challenge to capture the true essence of my subjects as a portraitist and artist.