Mayco Naing / Artist Interview – Abstraction of Breathing

Mayco Naing

All images courtesy of the artist

Curated, Edited, Translated and Design by SOCA (School of Contemporary Art Project) in collaboration with AURA Contemporary Art Foundation Aung Myat Htay, Yuto Yabumoto (AURA).

Mayco Naing (Theatre/Photography)

I have been teaching story-telling about social issues mostly regarding my personal life. So when I do art myself, I want to move away from these issues. Photo story-telling involves a great deal of issues such as crime, drugs, war, rape and so on, so I hear about these issues all year round. But when I create work on my own, I usually tell myself in the beginning that I have no stories to tell. That’s because my ears are full for “they have stories to tell”.  Since I work so much on these issues all the time, when it’s time to create my own work, I end up moving away from this story-telling and documentary works, and I got closer and closer towards conceptual art. And, I think I prefer it that way since I have continued this process till now. When I photographed this building I became quite attached to it and went to go look at it every day. I sat on its grass and watched. I was scared of letting the building go. It was during Covid then and it was close to my house, so I ended up going there a lot. It was very similar to my work station in the past so I felt bad for letting it go, and I took photos when I visited. There are many places like this during Covid where it has to be closed down due to the rent. There’s another place like that. I visited there too with a feeling of loss—a dusty old bar with rats running around. I went there and took photos with my film camera as well. There are so many things lost like this during Covid and the feeling of helplessness—of being unable to do anything but let go—with a heavy heart just coming to watch these memories; I started writing a script about it. Covid only erases the sense of taste and smell for a short time. In my script, the sense of taste and smell is permanently erased—I created a parallel world. Everything is much worse and in panic in my world. In the present, there is still hope; taste and smell can still be regained. I wrote about people who can never get them back again. The script has nothing really to do with the photographs. The photographs follow the rundown hotel and the struggling bar that I observed. So when we put the 3 things together: the photographs flow on its own, the script speaks too, and the real world also revolves on its own; I find these incongruent processes interesting.

  • Mayco Naing

Mayco Naing is a photography artist known as her portrait series, entitled Identity of Fear, captures the Zeitgeist of the Burmese generation born around the time of the 1988 revolution, raised with little education, conservative values, and coming of age under a repressive military regime. Drawing on her newly-found freedom of expression and the desire to share her experience, Mayco hopes to be able to train as many citizen artists and photojournalists as possible, especially in regions where ethnic minorities are still facing armed conflicts.” 


Editor: Aura Contemporary Art Foundation