Currently showing

Holding Hope

Purpose of this exhibition
Why an exhibition about holding hope?

Why an exhibition about holding hope? We use the concept of “holding hope” to signify the creation of a safe space where artists share their stories and ask the audience to use the artwork to find solace and help the communal healing process. Art becomes the safe place for the audience to feel, build strength and resilience through these difficult times. Although art and dialogue alone cannot tackle injustice and structural inequalities, it can empower and inspire those who are working towards a solution to the crises. Looking back at history, during times of repression, youth, activists and artists managed to make their presence felt in the public space despite the challenges they faced — their voices raised as they contested the principles of war, destruction and authoritarianism. This exhibition aims to encourage people to contribute to their civic space with their opinions, and to think critically about themselves, their communities and the what is possible to achieve at a time of adversity. The exhibition shows that despite the multiple injustices, the fraying of trust and humanity resulting from the ongoing violence and insecurity, Myanmar people continue working towards a better future.

Looking back at history, youth, activists and artists managed to make their presence felt despite the challenges they faced. Hope drove their involvement in these important discussions. Today, hope continues to be the crucial element that inspires and energises movements that long for social transformation.

This exhibition shows that despite the multiple injustices, people in Myanmar continue hoping and working towards a better future. The artists in this exhibition share with us the different views on what is possible to achieve at a time of adversity. Each artist understands hope in a different way. Despite differences, they all show how art and culture are a safer haven against all the injustices around us by allowing us to question and think freely.

Hope is a complex emotion:
Hope allows us to overcome the obstacles by helping us to cope with the realities of a frustrating present. Hope leads to imaginations, expectations, and utopian fantasies that can make the present being felt “as a heavy weight”. Hope also has an element of optimism, no matter what kind of repression people are subjected to, they believe they will survive. Hope is what allows people to operate despite repressive times.

In the photo series “Immortal Dreams”, an artist’s collective share their private hopes in  private places, backs turned in an act of vulnerability, inviting the viewer to share in their innermost thoughts and maybe even to “make them a reality.
Hope as temporal.
Hope is expressed as something beyond the limits of the present. It is articulated as imagined futures, and to look to the future.

Art, through the production of images and texts, reflects the view of hope as “the wish for something to become true”. This makes hope something very concrete, even what the artist wish will become true may lie in the realm of the uncertain.This animated poem reading explores the nature of hope (and hopelessness) and the human condition in Buddhist reincarnation philosophy. What can we do when hope, like our lives, is temporal but circular like a city’s circuit train?
Hope as an alternate reality.
Hope as an alternate reality. When artists depict their wish for something to be true, they are expressing something concrete and precise, even when their wishes lie in the realms of uncertainty.

In this multimedia performance, the artist documents their feelings of uncertainty over the past year in a painting, literally putting hope and hopelessness in opposition to each other, flipped on canvas. The resolution — both a release and a metaphor to symoblise a “new beginning” — comes as they burn their art on camera.
Hope as solidarity.
Hope as solidarity. Rejecting the current oppressive climate, youth, activists, and artists are refusing to leave the public space. Their resilience becomes a public declaration of hope for Myanmar’s future, and a wellspring for those who want to express solidarity and alliances.

In this piece the artist reminds the viewers of the heavy prices being paid in the ongoing struggle, and the clash between the thin veneer of people’s daily lives as they continue living and the undercurrent of the fight, bubbling underneath in unspoken words between friends.

Inspired by the complex emotions experienced in their escape from Yangon across the Thai border with the help of human traffickers, this live performance explores the tension between the two forces influencing the artist’s journey — Dhamma, cosmic law and order, and Adhamma, cosmic injustice and disorder.

As our conclusive piece, we invite the viewer to take a few moments to participate in this piece: to listen, to meditate and to ponder.