An exhibition now under way in Yangon could hold the key to a revival of one of the country’s most celebrated traditional crafts: puppet making. The “From Craft to Art” expo, which has been running from March 21 until today, showcases the dancing puppets built by puppet-maker Ko Aung Htike Soe, and his masters.
Dazzled commuters happily lent their ears, and eyes, to an unlooked-for display of theatrical fireworks on the normally staid Yangon circle line on March 22. “I haven’t seen such a big show in my life, especially here,” said 28-year-old Ko Thein Soe. “I didn’t think they could do this on the train.”
Once relied upon as an essential source of income by communities across the country, traditional crafts like hand-weaving have been dying out over the past decade as manually operated looms have been increasingly replaced by machines.
From her poverty-stricken roots in a Philippine backwater, via domestic service in Hong Kong to acclaim in New York, Xyza Cruz Bacani’s inspirational journey started with a camera bought with borrowed money.
You probably haven’t heard of Laurence Carroll, the free-thinking, alcoholic Irish hobo born in Dublin in the 1800s, who travelled across the globe to Myanmar, gave up drinking, shaved his head and became the world’s first Western Buddhist monk.