Sai Htin Linn Htet / Artist Interview – Abstraction of Breathing

Sai Htin Linn Htet

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).

Sai Htin Lin Htet (Photography)

Societal issues are the foundations of my works. Empathy, peacebuilding and identities are the main themes of my approaches. Besides, the target is exploring the interrelations and what’s going on within my society. Emotionally, the birth of Maya’s concept was way before 2015 election, and by then, I as a young person had so much hopes and dreams: imagining what will happen next with great expectation.. whether national deficiencies will vanish into thin air. A slow departure from 2015 provoked me to question further about the state of our dreams: whether they are just dreams? So, Maya asks, yet, I’ve no answer except questions of my own; whether the contemporary political, social and economic landscapes and infrastructures are as we want? Are we living the dream or what we hoped for are still dreams away? Or is it metamorphosed or manifested into something? Are we supposed to have more hopes or are they false? Or is it too much to possess such polarizing hopes?  Unsteadiness and uncertainty are the hunches I’ve been having since. So, my Schrödinger's cat case of  unadulterated hopes and dreams I once had as a citizen which I unknowingly know or knowingly unknow what happened to them, accumulated into an entity/nonentity. That is Maya. What can’t be deciphered is the paradoxical sways and influences upon a citizen/I, and that occurrence itself is Maya: illusion and deception among many other elements. So far, my ongoing surrender to Maya has three states. A state of Dreamscapes, a state of Transition and a state of Nightmares, each with respective idiosyncrasies. They are a form of self-portraits of my mental state, of hopes and dreams. For instance, while approaching these states, I first wonder whether the scenarios I’m facing could present a breathable atmosphere for self-reflection. It might as well have to do with my personal diverse identities and belongings: background, ethnic minority etc. I feel that pluralism is not celebrated or appreciated enough in the world around me. Then, Maya took me in as an imagined dimension where idealistic society blossoms. I wish and express for that dimension and I long for it.

  • Sai Htin Lin Htet

Sai Htin Lin Htet is a Yangon-based curator, artist and peace educator. Based on the theme of empathy, Sai focuses on issues about human rights, pollution, gender equality, identity and discrimination. His works are the responses reflected upon personal experience about various human conditions mostly triggered by his mixed ethnic background, identity, gender, deep-rooted social issues, restricted freedom of expression and conflicts in Myanmar. Sai was a recipient of Goldsmiths Fellowship from the University of London in 2019.


Editor: Aura Contemporary Art Foundation