Reading Club

Reading Club - Banner

Reading Club

Painting Myanmar’s Transition


Ian Holliday

Aung Kaung Myat


Florian Knothe


23 September 2021 (Thursday)


6:30 - 8:00 PM


2/F Multi-purpose Area, Main Library, HKU




About the Book


Painting Myanmar’s Transition cover.jpg

Painting Myanmar’s Transition presents paintings by and concise companion interviews with eighty artists. Ian and Aung Kaung showcase work produced by local artists during a period of significant reform.

In the 2010s, Myanmar moved away from half a century of rigid military rule and a wave of liberalization spread across the country. Artists eagerly embraced the new freedoms and, in so doing, captured their nation at a time of considerable fluidity. 

Collectively, the paintings from the 2010s and the interviews from 2020 reveal the lived experience of Myanmar’s reform years and the aspirations expressed by citizens for the future. They assume an almost elegiac quality in the aftermath of a 2021 military coup that brought the transition to a crashing halt and cast a dark cloud over society.

Placed alongside each other, the eighty paintings and the reflections of the artists who created them offer rare insights into a landmark decade in Myanmar. Together, they conjure a set of nuanced understandings of a pivotal Southeast Asian state navigating complex political change and building dreams that, in the event, were all too suddenly shattered.


 About the Speakers



Ian Holliday is Vice-President (Teaching and Learning) at The University of Hong Kong. He is the author of Burma Redux: Global Justice and the Quest for Political Reform in Myanmar (2011), co-author with Roman David of Liberalism and Democracy in Myanmar (2018), and co-editor with Adam Simpson and Nicholas Farrell of Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Myanmar (2018).


Aung Kaung Myat.JPEG

Aung Kaung Myat is a research postgraduate student in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at The University of Hong Kong. 


About the Moderator 




Florian Knothe is the Director of the University of Hong Kong Museum and Art Gallery. Before joining the University, Florian was the curator of European glass at The Corning Museum of Glass overseeing the European and East Asian departments. There, he organized an exhibition on East Meets West, and afterward, lectured internationally on cross-cultural influences in art and workshop practices in Western Europe and East Asia.