Portraits from an Artist

A pioneer of the avant-garde art movement in Burma recently carried the day for the country’s artisan community. In March, Daw Tin Tin Sann had two of her oil paintings selected for display at the 142nd annual exhibition of the Society of Women Artists at Westminster Gallery in London.

"As a Burmese woman artist, I’m proud my paintings were selected and that many viewers enjoyed them," Tin Tin Sann told The Irrawaddy.

She studied painting under the well-known artist U Lun Gywe. Since she first exhibited her art publicly in 1968, Tin Tin Sann has participated in more than 50 exhibitions in Burma. She served as President of the Rangoon University Art Society from 1972 to 1980. She also left her mark as one of the country’s first artists to create batik paintings, something she left behind in 1981.

"My parents fully understood my passion and encouraged me to be an artist," says the painter, now in her 50s. "My seniors and contemporaries never showed discrimination against my work because I am a woman."

During her long stay overseas, Tin Tin Sann has held several one-person exhibitions in the US and England, often displaying her sculptures from clay, plaster and bronze. Many art enthusiasts, however, are more familiar with her portraits of seascapes and her keen use of contrasting and free-flowing color.

While most of her work has ended up in private collections, Tin Tin Sann’s paintings are displayed around the world, including one at the UNESCO office in Paris.

Offering her opinion on the state of contem

porary painting in Burma, Tin Tin Sann explained that traditional-style paintings are up to international standards, but Burmese modern art sorely lacks innovation "particularly in abstract art".

Although foreign art collectors buy most of the Burmese paintings for sale, Tin Tin Sann recognizes the general aesthetic sensibility of Burmese people is improving. "Galleries [in Burma] are now crowded with young folks."

Tin Tin Sann is also the producer of the Burmese Art and Culture programme on the BBC Burmese Service.


THE GUARDIAN, Saturday, 1978


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THE GUARDIAN, Sunday, August 20, 1978


THE GUARDIAN, Saturday, November 1, 1975


Show Information


UA Satellite Exhibition

Jan. 20th to Feb. 1st 2009

The Fountain Gallery

26 Bridge Road
East Molesley
(Opp. Hampton Court station)
Open Tuesday to Sunday
11.30 am to 5.30 pm

Beyond Burma II

Menier Gallery, Menier Chocolate Factory

Monday 9th to Saturday 14th February

51 Southwark Street,
London SE1 1UR 


United Society Of Artists

Khin Myint

Htein Lin