April 16, 2018

Artists Beyond Boundaries ~ Art from Myanmar


photos by Styrous®

On Friday I had the great fortune to catch the exhibiton, Artists Beyond Boundaries showing at the Abrams Claghorn Gallery in Albany which will be on view until April 29.

In December of 2016, Pamela Blotner and Mie Preckler, Curators of Artists Beyond Boundaries, traveled to Yangon, Myanmar, to meet with artists and began curating the project’s exhibition component. Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, recently opened its borders as it moves toward democracy. As a result of this fundamental change, artists are now free to explore all forms of creative expression. The Artists Beyond Boundaries’ inaugural project took place in Yangon, Myanmar in June 2017. This exhibition explores how Myanmar artists’ work has evolved over this decade long period of political change.  

This curated exhibition took place at the American Center of the U.S. Embassy and featured the work of 25 Myanmar artists. Together with the exhibiting artists they gave lectures and studio workshops at Yangon’s popular and accessible Pansodan Scene studios.

The exhibition blended the works of established, and emerging Myanmar artists. The exhibition was a continuation of “The Burmese/American Art Exchange” that Blotner had curated a decade ago. For the “Artists Beyond Boundaries Project. Preckler joined Blotner as co-curator and their investigation expanded to an exploration of the ways in which Myanmar artists have responded to the cultural and political changes that have transpired in Myanmar over the past decade.      

The exhibition featured artists who had lived and worked under dictatorship and had appeared in the earlier show, as well as artists who came to artistic maturity during Myanmar’s transition to democracy under Aung San Suu Kyi’s leadership. The twenty-four exhibitors hailed from six different ethnic regions and eight of them were women. Soon after the opening, the curators and select Myanmar artists lectured on social issues, ideas and exchange in contemporary art. Following the lectures, the Artists Beyond Boundaries team moved to Pansodan Scene in downtown Yangon for studio demonstrations and workshops. The ABB team also got the opportunity to share a day of hands-on art making with a group of Myanmar elementary school students, when they joined Winnie Hofstetter and her American Center staff at the Hmen Kin Parahita Orphanage. The ABB Yangon Project culminated with a 3 - day collaborative studio event at Pansodan Scene which functioned as an environment for sharing processes and exchanging ideas and resulted in individual artists, art students and community members working together to create exciting new collaborative works.

The Artists Beyond Boundaries exhibition, workshops and collaborative studio experimentation worked in different ways to take the temperature of visual art in Yangon and how transition, expansion and growth continue to emanate from the new freedom and expanded geographical and conceptual boundaries being tested by this sampling of 24 active artists (link below).             

Concurrent with the Artists Beyond Boundaries exhibition is Refuge, sculpture and drawings by Pamela Blotner.


Abrams Claghorn Gallery
1251 Solano Avenue
Albany, CA 94706
Viewfinder links:       
Tom White     
Net links:       
Artist Beyond Boundaries      
Artists Beyond Boundaries Exhibition Artists      
Styrous® ~ Monday, April 16, 2018          

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