• Art of Resistance | Myanmar/Thailand

    EAS is pleased to provide an update on Burmese artist Sai ▇▇▇’s latest exhibition and evolving body of work drawing attention to the impact of the February 2021 coup in Myanmar. Sai's work has been featured by EAS online and through live exhibitions around the world since 2022. Sai’s multi-media ‘Trails of Absence’ project, in its current iteration, is on view along with photographer
    Ta Mwe’s “Symbols of Presence” in a powerful exhibition organized by SEA Junction,
    a program of the Foundation for Southeast Asia Studies in Bangkok.


    Press release

    “Trails of Absence & Symbols of Presence: Loss & Protest in
    Myanmar’s Spring Revolution”

    (Text courtesy of SEA Junction website)


    The exhibition consists of two series of artworks by two Myanmar artists: “Trails of Absence” by multi-disciplinary artist Sai (pseudonym) calls attention, with fabric installations, to the fate of political prisoners after the February 2021 coup, while “Symbols of Presence” by photographer Ta Mwe (pseudonym) features portraits of people with tattoos symbolizing the Myanmar’s Spring Revolution.

    For over three years, the people of Myanmar have been demanding the restoration of democracy and the release of the imprisoned leaders and all other political prisoners in spite of the military’s use of lethal force. As of March 2024, 4,720 people have been confirmed killed by the junta and a total of 26,246 people have been arrested, with 20,164 currently detained and 166 people have been sentenced to death. 713 children have been arrested and 586 children killed. The number of displaced people in the country and across borders is over 2 million and growing. Amidst the failure of the international community to pay attention and take action, people are not giving up, continuing their support for the opposition National Unity Government (NUG) in exile and counting on their steadfast opposition and the armed resistance by the People Defence Force and the Ethnic Armies gaining ground to eventually win the revolution. Artists have been an integral part of the so-called Spring Revolution, using creative expression as a vehicle to protest the coup and human rights abuses, as well as to inspire resistance.

    In particular, in “Trails of Absence”, Sai created 8 pieces of fabric artwork to express the tragic impact of the Myanmar military coup and trauma inflicted on his own family. Sai’s moving, immersive installation series explores the unjust narrative of the relationship between his father, who has been held as a political prisoner by the Burmese junta since the coup, and his mother, who lives under 24-hour surveillance and in constant fear for her safety. Sai himself has been in hiding for more than two years and is being sought by the junta because of his family’s political connection. Supported in part by grants from the VII Foundation and The Frontline Club, in this series of works, the faces are protected by the clothes of political prisoners abducted by the regime, which were sneaked out from the most notorious prisons in Myanmar. These are the trails of absence which he regards as not only reflecting the trace of his family, but also the many political prisoners fighting for democracy, whose whereabouts are kept hidden by the military from the loved ones.

    Another work by Ta Mwe, “Symbols of Presence” originally titled as “Flowers of Spring” is a photo documentary series portraying young individuals participating in Myanmar’s Spring Revolution, amidst a backdrop of the military’s crackdown on protests and suppression of free speech. These youths defiantly express their commitment to freedom and democracy through body art, despite facing consequences such as having their tattoos burned and imprisonment by the military. For their safety, the photographer concealed their identities using flowers and bouquets, which also serve as a metaphor for these youths being akin to the blossoms of spring, symbolizing growth, resilience, and hope.

    Click here to see the Opening Reception Panel Discussion on Facebook

    [Please note that the panel discussion with sound begins at 9:51 mark in the video]


    Sai ▇▇▇ is a multidisciplinary artist from Myanmar. As a tribute to his imprisoned father, he started to produce his artworks reflecting the traumatic and painful experiences from the late coup in Myanmar. His works have been on displayed across the world from Canada, France, The Netherlands, Italy, UK, and Thailand. All made during his period of exile while he was being hunted by the Myanmar army. Due to this the name Sai is an alias and this bio has been heavily redacted to remove any identifying information.

    Ta Mwe is a Burmese photojournalist and documentary photographer with experience covering a wide range of political and social stories and events throughout Myanmar. After many years working for national and international publications and organizations as a photographer, videographer, and video editor, Ta Mwe’s recent work has focused on analog stills photography, covering first the COVID-19 crisis and then the country’s anti-coup protests on medium-format black and white film stock. Ta Mwe’s work can be seen in the stories Uprising and Myanmar’s COVID Crisis. Due to the political situation in Myanmar, the name Ta Mwe is an alias.


    SEA Junction, established under the Thai non-profit organization Foundation for Southeast Asia Studies (ForSEA), aims to foster understanding and appreciation of Southeast Asia in all its socio-cultural dimensions, from arts and lifestyles to economy and development. Conveniently located at Room 407-8 of the Bangkok Arts and Culture Center or BACC (across MBK, BTS National Stadium), SEA Junction facilitates public access to knowledge resources and exchanges among students, practitioners and Southeast Asia lovers.

    For more information on SEA Junction, see www.seajunction.org, join the Facebook group:
    Facebook  |  Twitter Instagram

    For more information on the exhibition, please email: info@seajunction.org or phone/wa: +66970024140.
    The event is free, but donations are welcome to support SEA Junction activities.
  • Congratulations to Ramon Blanco-Barrera for Fulbright Scholar Award

    Emergent Art Space is happy to announce that Advisory Board Member, Ramon Blanco-Barrera,
    also known by his artist name, “233” (@233art), is a recipient of the Fulbright Scholar Award this year. The Fulbright is a highly competitive, international academic teaching, research, and cultural exchange program funded by the U.S. State Department.

    Ramon Blanco-Barrera (233) at the 2024 Fulbright Scholar-In-Residence Seminar in Washington D.C.

    Blanco-Barrera is a professor in the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Sevilla in the Department of Drawing. From January to July 2024, he is doing a postdoctoral stay at the College of the Sequoias (COS), in Visalia (California)—one of the very few community colleges to host a Fulbright scholar in the US.

    In addition to teaching and conducting research, he will be working with Richard Lubben, the Dean of Arts and Letters at COS/Visalia, as well as with other colleagues from around the world. Blanco-Barrera will be leading a laboratory-like project drawing on the arts, new technologies, and the human rights fields. He is seeking to make new contributions to the study and practice of positive social transformation.

    Ramon Blanco-Barrera (233) with Mr. Richard Lubben, Dean of Arts and Letters (left) and Brent R. Calvin, Superintendent & President of College of the Sequoias. Ramon is introduced as a Fulbright Scholar to the Board of Trustees at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, USA.
  • Celebrating the Mud Palace Art Gallery | Sikkim, India

    In September, we published an interview with Deo Prasad Rai, who was awarded a small project grant from EAS in support of his ambitious project to build an art gallery, literally, from the ground up in Sikkim, India, where he lives and works. In that piece, Deo shared his ideas for the gallery, its design, and photos of the building project in progress. The Mud Palace Art Gallery is now complete! Big congratulations to Deo on realizing his vision and persisting through a devastating flood in the region this past season. We are pleased to share an update with you in the form of a letter from Deo along with photos of the gallery's opening day in December. 

    Images courtesy of Deo and Mud Palace Art Gallery

    Letter from Deo Prasad Rai 

    The Mud Palace Art Gallery had a spectacular and awe-inspiring inauguration on December 14, 2023. The event was graced by prominent figures such as Mr. YT Lepcha, the Honorable MLA cum Advisor of the Tourism Department of the Government of Sikkim; Dr. Mangaljit Rai, Chairman of NCDFI under the Government of India; Mr. Sudip Pradhan, Director of NRL, Ministry of Petroleum and Gas, Government of India, eminent artists, and numerous other esteemed dignitaries. The reception program was an extravagant affair, where guests passionately spoke about the mesmerizing world of art and literature.

    The gallery stands proud as Sikkim's first tourism-centric gallery, showcasing breathtaking local village landscapes with captivating depictions of lifestyle and heritage paintings. We wholeheartedly support and promote the "Vocal for Local" concept initiated by the Government of India. Our gallery is registered with prestigious entities such as the portal for the National Integrated Database of Hospitality Industry (NIDHI), the Tourism Department for the Government of India, and the Ministry of Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSME) of the Government of India.

    In order to sustain and nurture the thriving artistic talents within our community, the gallery kindly requests a
    minimum revenue contribution from each visitor. We are dedicated to continuously enhancing our gallery and providing a platform for aspiring artists to exhibit their exceptional works.

    On this momentous day of our gallery's inauguration, we would like to express our utmost gratitude to Emergent
    Art Space (USA) for their remarkable support during the construction phase. Their invaluable contribution has
    truly made a difference.

    Opening Day

    Click any image to begin the sliding gallery

    About the Artist

    Deo Prasad Rai is an artist from Sikkim, India, and the founder of the Mud Palace Art Gallery. With a love for realistic fine art, Deo draws inspiration from his rural upbringing in Geyzing district, Sikkim. His paintings capture the essence of its nature, landscapes and people. Deo aims to explore and honor the techniques and traditions of past artists and has already achieved recognition, including being the first Sikkimese artist to win the prestigious COPD Art Contest by the European Lung Foundation in 2020. Join Deo on his artistic journey as he continues to create mesmerizing paintings and make his mark in the art world.

    Mud Palace Art Gallery Links