Sawangwongse Yawnghwe Artworks

Family photographs and archival images have long been a mainstay in Yawnghwe's practice. Many early works were portraits of his family members, painted on linen using muted colours. In the 2004 painting My Grandfather, Yawnghwe depicts his grandfather without any facial features or expression. In other paintings such as My Father on Independence Day (2004) or My Father on a Horse (2005), Yawnghwe depicts his father in military uniform, referring to his family's political heritage. Other paintings of that era, such as Their New Freedom II (2005), depict rebels and citizens in army camps.

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Over time, Yawnghwe began combining figuration and geometric abstraction in his paintings, using historic socio-political images juxtaposed with flattened planes in a range of colours and graphic patterns. In My Father (Black) (2019), a portrait of the artist's father takes up less than a third of the linen canvas, while the rest of the picture plane is covered in textured black paint. Similarly, in the 2019 painting My Grandmother/Shan State War Council, the canvas is divided into six rectangular parts; one depicting an image of the artist's grandmother, while the other five contain monochromatic blocks in colours referencing the old flag of Myanmar.

Politics have remained at the forefront of Yawnghwe's paintings; in the large-scale acrylic painting The 2nd of March 1962, Rangoon, Burma (2016), a group of military men threatening a family with guns portrays a Goya-like scene of violence. In Midnight 1947 (2019), Yawnghwe depicts a crowd in the distance, referring to the dawn of the general election for Burma's independence.

Process

Discussing his process in a 2022 interview with Ocula Magazine, the artist explained: 'I usually start with a grid to transfer the image. It provides a good structure and I go in with the brush right away. There's no drawing. When the photographic image is almost finished, I start thinking about the left side. The abstract pattern.'

Yawnghwe's practice also extends to installation; in the 2014 work Yawnghwe Office in Exile, Yawnghwe created a fictional office to explore possible narratives for Shan exiles. The installation contained drawings of minority groups of Burma, paintings and symbolic photographs of 1960s resistance and suppression, flow charts interpreting segments of the armed groups and the current involvement of industry, politics, economy and NGOs in today's efforts of peacekeeping in the country.

In 2021, Yawnghwe held a solo exhibition at Jane Lombard Gallery in New York. Titled Cappuccino in Exile, works in the show responded to the military coup that began in February 2021 when Myanmar's military government declared the outcome of the 2020 democratic election fraudulent. Through paintings and installation, Yawnghwe explored the events, his family's exile; and the conflict between drugs, revolutionary armies, minority ethnicities, mining and gas pipelines, genocide and the army state.

Browse Artworks
Untitled by Sawangwongse Yawnghwe contemporary artwork painting
Sawangwongse Yawnghwe Untitled, 2024 Acrylic on linen
149 x 119 cm
Tina Keng Gallery Request Price & Availability
Untitled by Sawangwongse Yawnghwe contemporary artwork painting
Sawangwongse Yawnghwe Untitled, 2024 Acrylic on linen
150 x 119.5 cm
Tina Keng Gallery Request Price & Availability
Studying the Detritus by Sawangwongse Yawnghwe contemporary artwork painting
Sawangwongse Yawnghwe Studying the Detritus, 2023 Acrylic on linen
95 x 75 cm
Tina Keng Gallery Request Price & Availability
Antigone by Sawangwongse Yawnghwe contemporary artwork mixed media
Sawangwongse Yawnghwe Antigone, 2024 Acrylic on linen
208 x 198.5 cm
TKG+ Request Price & Availability
The Crucifix by Sawangwongse Yawnghwe contemporary artwork painting
Sawangwongse Yawnghwe The Crucifix, 2023 Acrylic on linen
247 x 152.5 cm
TKG+ Request Price & Availability
Untitled by Sawangwongse Yawnghwe contemporary artwork painting
Sawangwongse Yawnghwe Untitled, 2024 Acrylic on linen
149 x 119 cm
TKG+ Request Price & Availability
Untitled by Sawangwongse Yawnghwe contemporary artwork painting
Sawangwongse Yawnghwe Untitled, 2024 Acrylic on linen
150 x 119.5 cm
TKG+ Request Price & Availability
Untitled by Sawangwongse Yawnghwe contemporary artwork painting
Sawangwongse Yawnghwe Untitled, 2024 Acrylic on linen
150 x 120 cm
TKG+ Request Price & Availability
Untitled by Sawangwongse Yawnghwe contemporary artwork painting
Sawangwongse Yawnghwe Untitled, 2024 Acrylic on linen
150 x 119.5 cm
TKG+ Request Price & Availability
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