Monday, December 30, 2013

Ko Ko Nung: Myanmar's Sidewalk Painter

It's my lastday in this trip in Myanmar and I thought I'd probably enjoy a walk around the city.

After checking out from Mahabandoola guesthouse at 11, there is 6 more hours to spend.

I walked towards the bogyoke market to check out the commodities there. Back in my second day, I have passed by the market but didn't really get to walk in the inner side where the better bargains are probably in.

Meantime, along Aung San road en route to the market,  a guy draws some paintings on cardboards and postcards.

Back in my visit to the market 2 days ago, I've seen some postcards which are said to be handpainted. I was amazed at how cheap they cost compared to the rare craftmanship required to make one.

And this is far different. He does it right in my face. 

Further, later, I asked him If I can sit beside him while I watch him do what I'd later buy from him.

He could speak good english, so while doing his work, I asked him a few; Trained by his father who did the same living, he, now 18, started working on the sidewalks when he was 9. 

Everyday (except mondays) he'd go to this same sidewalk to paint his landscapes using oil, a knife, a few colors and brushes.

First, he lays the background with some diluted paint and rub across with a rag. Then, he'd scatter some thicker and concentrated paint, with a brush around the paper into something looking loose and senseless. He then grabs the knife and tunes the paint into a distinct remarkable figures and set.. A tree, a roof, a boat, river, walkway, stone, etc. 

I thought paints and brushes were enough to paint; Yet, it was the knife that made it more vivid and detailed.

I wanted to show him some landscapes from my phone and ask him to copy, but I was afraid he might not be able to do it (or, at least, get it as perfect as what those he has done so far); He might have not done anything like in my pictures before, or perhaps didn't have the appropriate materials to accomplish what I want; Neither did I want to leave anyway with lost confidence from what I've already seen. . I did not want him to feel bad about saying no, or me loosing confidence too. I just let him do his thing and sign the last one with my name on it. After all, it's just 1500Ks (p70).

I don't normally buy crafts that will end up being (hand) carry ons later, but for this genuine art, i'll make it an exception. I knew i'll have to carry it separately, but I won't mind for now. I'll have this framed once I get home.

I look forward to a day when Ko Ko Nung will have his own shop, if not a galery. 

For someone, who is aging through his country's struggle for development, to see a brilliant young, in his country that's now chasing all that they've been ripped off, I can only sigh and tell him in my mind, "Oh  you (we) deserve better." 

1 comment :

  1. This is awesome. i wanted to get one when visiting this.


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