Former PM opens art gallery in Yangon

Former prime minister U Khin Nyunt has opened an art gallery in Yangon. He says he will exhibit pictures on a first-come-first-served basis so that unknown artists can gain wider recognition.

U Khin Nyunt with guests at the opening of the Nawaday Art Gallery on May 11. (Boothee/The Myanmar Times)U Khin Nyunt with guests at the opening of the Nawaday Art Gallery on May 11. (Boothee/The Myanmar Times)

Nawaday Art Gallery opened at 27 Nawaday Street, Mayangone township, on May 11, alongside a coffee shop and “souvenir corner”, and the whole complex is surrounded with trees and flowers.

“As I’m getting old now, I look forward to a peaceful life. I practise my religion and do community work, but it isn’t enough. I had this idea to invite artists to hang their paintings in my gallery to bring peace and delight,” the former leader told The Myanmar Times at the opening ceremony.

He would accept paintings from whichever artists come first, without any other selection criteria, and display them without charge for a week, he said.

“When artists hang their paintings only at home, no collector will see them. They will sell them only at a low price and the value of the art will be reduced. My gallery can’t promote every artist, but I can support some,” he said. “Only by exhibiting in a gallery can artists get the true price for their work. We need more galleries like this,” he said.

Two small bungalows nearby sell Myanmar cultural artefacts, including sculptures, gold and silver embroidery and accessories. A business run by U Khin Nyunt’s wife, Dr Daw Khin Win Shwe and his son, Ye Naing Win, operates the open-air Nawaday Coffee Corner as a branch of Café Aroma. The garden is open from 9am to 9pm every day.