Thursday, July 27, 2017

Artist uses graffiti to get his message across

Some artists do not stop after having made a reputation and ArkarKyaw, whose specialty is graffiti, is one of them.

Bosch and Arkar Kyaw seen to go hand in hand. Photo - SuppliedBosch and Arkar Kyaw seen to go hand in hand. Photo - Supplied

Arkar Kyaw’s mural welcoming Barack Obama is one of the iconic images from the former US president’s 2012 visit to Myanmar.

A year later he made headlines again when he was slapped with a $100 fine for a mural he did in honour of then-president U Thein Sein’s birthday.

He volunteered for Doe Eain’s back alleys project, which kicked off last Sunday in a downtown alley between 31st and 32nd Streets.

And that’s not all. His latest stencil artwork can be seen as part of Bosch’s ‘‘Beauty Beneath’’ campaign promoting road safety.

“Too many lives in our country have been unnecessarily lost due to road accidents,” the 24-year-old Arkar Kyaw said. “If I could do my part, this would be it – by bringing to public attention the importance of maintaining road and vehicle safety through my artwork”.

His mural (depicting two young students crossing a road) and road safety sign are now on show, legally, on a timeworn and blackened wall of a building on Bayint Naung Road in Mayangone Township.

“Cars and steering wheel designs are common sights in road safety campaigns,” he added. “So I thought up a design.

Artist Arkar Kyaw posing in front of a wall portraying his unfinished work on road safety which is to be unveiled tomorrow. Photo - SuppliedArtist Arkar Kyaw posing in front of a wall portraying his unfinished work on road safety which is to be unveiled tomorrow. Photo - Supplied

It carries the message that not only drivers but also pedestrians should be mindful of the dangers that may arise from such a routine”.

Road accidents are very common in Myanmar and he believes artists in general can play an important role in delivering certain messages to the public.

“As an artist, a mural is one of the medium I prefer to use, though definitely not the only one,” he explained.

“The spot chosen by Bosch is very strategic and highly visible. Thousands of people pass by the area every day.

I’d like for my artwork to be a visual reminder and a tool to educate people – drivers, riders and pedestrians – about road safety.’’

It took ArkarKyaw a week to prepare the artwork and design. He has portrayed with stencil art a form of graffiti that makes use of stencils made out of other media.

The design he made was cut out of the selected medium and then the image is transferred to a 8x9 meter wall through the use of power washer from Bosch, the German engineering giant famous for its high-tech electronics devices and systems with a focus on security.

“I want people to think of their loved ones when they see my work on that wall,” he said.

“I want them to remember how important it is for them to make it home every day. I also want them to respect other motorists.”

Through Beauty Beneath, he is talking about the issue of road and vehicle safety. And he hopes that this awareness-raising campaign will be effective in reaching out to road users in Myanmar.

Beauty Beneath is a Bosch initiative launched in cooperation with Arkar Kyaw.

The campaign took off in April this year, initially in tandem with local organisations such as YCDC, traffic police as well as schools. Under the project road safety signs and milestones have been erected along the Yangon-Nay Pyi Taw-Mandalay highway.

His works go on show 6th July. The art work is located on Bayint Naung Road near the flyover in Mayangone Township.