'Thukhuma: Painting Myanmar in a Time of Transition' Exhibition

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April 4, 2016 @ 8:00 am
July 29, 2016 @ 5:00 pm
UNC Global
FedEx Global Education Center
301 Pittsboro St.
Chapel Hill, NC 27516 United States
Living in Harmony by Ba Khine

Living in Harmony by Ba Khine

“Thukhuma: Painting Myanmar in a Time of Transition” is a collaborative art exhibition that showcases 34 contemporary paintings from Myanmar. The paintings come from 34 artists and present different perspectives on the current social and political situation in Myanmar. This exhibition will be on display in the FedEx Global Education Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from April 4 to July 29, 2016.

Myanmar, the Southeast Asian nation formerly known as Burma, was ruled by a series of repressive military-backed regimes from 1962-2011. The junta, which formed following the crushing of a mass pro-democracy movement in 1988, was internationally condemned and isolated for its gross human rights abuses. The first general election in 20 years in 2010 led in 2011 to the replacement of the military junta with a nominally civilian government. Ethnic tensions dating from the end of British colonial rule in 1948 and subsequent political reordering persist, and the country struggles economically after decades of isolation and international sanctions. Myanmar is a society in transition.

“Thukhuma” means art or culture in Pali, the liturgical language of Myanmar’s dominant Theravada Buddhist tradition. It also has connotations of uniqueness. The paintings in “Thukhuma” present artists’ perspectives on the current social and political situation inside the country. The exhibition explores art, culture, education and politics in Myanmar, and provides a forum for analysis and debate.

Karen Landscape by Tamalar

Karen Landscape by Tamalar

A special preview of the exhibition in advance of the April 4 opening took place March 3 in the Florence and James Peacock Atrium of the FedEx Global Education Center. Select paintings were on display during a reception following a lecture by Ian Holliday, “Thukhuma” curator.

Holliday is vice-president and pro-vice-chancellor for teaching and learning at the University of Hong Kong. His lecture explored the political agenda long espoused by Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and president of the National League for Democracy, set against the context of the recent November 2015 general election which saw the National League for Democracy sweep to power. Holliday also talked about paintings and politics in contemporary Myanmar.

The FedEx Global Education Center, located at 301 Pittsboro Street in Chapel Hill, is open weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and on select Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

This exhibition is sponsored by UNC Global and the Carolina Asia Center. A special thanks to Holliday for loaning UNC all paintings on display and his guidance in creating the exhibition.


“Looking at Art in Myanmar During a Time of Transition,” Ian Holliday interview with Frank Stasio on The State of Things


“Thukhuma: Painting Myanmar in a Time of Transition” Exhibition Flyer


Keynote Lecture and Preview Exhibition of “Thukhuma: Painting Myanmar in a Time of Transition,” March 3, 2016 at 5:30 p.m.

Exhibit contact: Ingrid Smith, manager of events and exhibitions for UNC Global, ingrid.smith@unc.edu.

Media contact: Katie Bowler Young, director of global relations, UNC Global, kbowler@unc.edu, 919.962.4504

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