Portraits Of The Anonymous
Shwe Wutt Hmon
Exhibition: 06 - 16 January 2023
Venue: Chocolate Garden (Siem Reap)
“For most of history, anonymous was a woman” – Virginia Woolf
Traditionally and historically, photography is a very male dominant industry in Myanmar. It’s still a long journey for the female lens-based artists to be visible, be recognised for their role and contribution in the industry, and earn the decent respect they deserve and their voices heard. As influenced by socio, cultural and economical limitations, women find it harder to survive and be sustained in the field of photography.
I constantly find it very impressive the diverse visuals, narrations, stories and creations brought by my fellow female artists. When a very insufferable military coup took place in Myanmar on 1st February 2021, many women were there among the crowds of photographers who have been documenting the important history of the country. From those who have been covering from street protests to brutal crackdowns of very frontline and someone who has been documenting the wet clothes which the street protestors use to prevent from the tear gas bomb to another one who is working on the portraits of resistance to the next who has been filming about the brave stories of our fallen heroes, using their camera and lens, we women are there.
“Portraits Of The Anonymous” is a portrait series of the female lens based practitioners, from photographers and filmmakers to photojournalists and artists who earnestly worked on the 2021 Myanmar coup d’état. Layering the coup-wise image at the background, shot by the photographer herself, the portrait of each artist in her professional posture, along with her own testimonies, vividly indicate all the struggles, strengths, labors and contributions of the women in photography within Myanmar context. The series also speaks about a collective history of how and what women artists were parts of the Burmese spring revolution, I believe.
Shwe Wutt Hmon (b.1986) is a Burmese photographer and artist, based in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Shwe’s works focus on collective histories, familial ties, knots and threads of human relationship and exploring the inner psyche through intimate story telling about people and places dear to her heart. She tells personal stories from which she connects and examines broader social aspects; vice versa she works on social documentaries reflecting and drawing from her own position within the issue. Shwe uses photography as her main medium and incorporates archives, videos, texts, poems, paintings and drawings of her own or collaborating with others.
Shwe is the recipient of respected art and photography awards including the Objectifs Documentary Award 2020 (Open Category) and the Julius Baer Next Generation Art Prize. Her works have been exhibited internationally in art festivals and spaces such as Kochi Biennale, Aichi Triennale, Singapore International Photography Festival, Photo Australia International Festival of Photography, ArtScience Museum Singapore, Bangkok Art & Culture Centre and Photoforum Pasquart.
Shwe is alumni of the Angkor Photo Workshops.