Lineage of Myanmar photographers at exhibition

Guests walk by the east wing of the Secretariat where the photo exhibition is taking place.  Photo: MNA
Guests walk by the east wing of the Secretariat where the photo exhibition is taking place.  Photo: MNA

An exhibition titled “Burmese Photographers”, featuring early colonial era images, was opened to the public yesterday in the east wing of the Secretariat.
The event is organised by the Goethe-Institut and curated by Lukas Birk. Birk’s extensive research traces the emergence of an autonomous Burmese imagery. Having searched hidden archives of antique dealers and photography studios, the Austrian curator and photographer has collected more than 10,000 photographs – a mixture of studio photographs, amateur and private pictures, as well as press and advertising materials. The event is part of this year’s photography festival.
When asked about his work in assembling the exhibition, Birk said he wanted to preserve the names of undocumented Burmese photographers. Birk is showcasing some 400 photographs out of the thousands he has amassed. “The photographs inside [the Secretariat] are not just pictures of press conferences, but they are beautiful shots, and some show Bogyoke [Aung San] during a meeting,” said Birk.
The photographs on display comprise historical ones captured by an Indian photographer, who was the first photographer to arrive in Myanmar. The exhibition also contains significant pictures by Burmese photographers, of generations of Burmese celebrities and of Bogyoke Aung San on his road to independence.
Ko Win Htet from Goethe-Institut said there were initially few local photographers in 1910, but eventually their numbers grew. He said the exhibition is intended to draw attention to the old photographers, as well as bring out the talent of the current generation. The exhibition will remain open to the public until 11 March from 10a.m. to 5 p.m.—Zaw Gyi

Photographs of former generations of celebrities on display at the photo exhibition.  Photo: MNA
Photographs of former generations of celebrities on display at the photo exhibition.  Photo: MNA
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