Folk Tales: Once upon a time there was a country

Aung Myat Htay

Folk Tales: Once upon a time there was a country, 2023, Videos installation: three videos, straw sculptures, reading room
All images courtesy of the artist

This art project aims to relive and exchange folktales that we remember from our childhood. Everyone loved the folktales since their childhood, and I believe that the stories teach us to cultivate humanity and goodwill to rethink our world view. “Folktales are international communication like diplomatic work,” Gandhi of India once said. Folktale is a type of traditional story orally passed through the generations to explain about the world and feature morals or lessons by the wiseman. Goodness is always rewarded; heroes and heroines live happily ever after while evil is punished, and justice prevails in the end. Usually, folktales are not considered to be true, but they mirror the values of culture and society which they came from. Folktales usually take place long ago in faraway somewhere and it can be visible the somebody’s spirit and wills. 

Include three videos on the monitors and one projection on the opposite wall, the videos based on the artist’s ongoing work called “Shadow of unknown people 2019-” which is inspired by the ancient photographs from the colonial era of Burma (1824-1948). The silhouette portrait of people are reveals their souls as the deepest attachments with their land and the water.

This art project is creating a reading room along with the lively atmosphere of the folk-stories, which is prepared to all visitors. Also intended to share the stories by whom wish to tell or write as a participation in art. This project based on a book of “Burmese folktales” written by Burmese literary scholar “Maung Htin Aung”, published in Oxford University in 1948.

About the Artist

Aung Myat Htay 
"Diversity is my Philosophy of Art, and It's a tendency of Convergence."
Born in Mandalay, live and work in Yangon, Myanmar. ACC grantee Artist and independent curator Aung Myat Htay was practicing bronze sculpture assisted his father since he was young. Start art education at the state-run Fine Art school and graduated in BFA at the University of Art & Culture in Yangon. Research and further learning in Art by international residencies in the US, Europe, and Asia. Working as an art lecturer, he explores the potential in freedom of expression found in contemporary art. He expresses social messages with combines a contemporary sense in traditional forms. He is a founder of SOCA alternative art learning program and known as writer and curator in Myanmar art community.

Editor: Aura Contemporary Art Foundation