Artwork by: Thet Htar Swe


The according drawing is a depiction of who Aung San Suu Kyi is in my world. I have begun to realize her interesting soul outside the political realm after reading “The Lady and the Peacock” by Peter Popham. Suu, to me, is a hopeless romantic who wanted to study about trees and get lost in books. She has always been a fearless, strong female figure in my world without the political advertisements. Here, my aim for the drawing is to resemble a poem. Youth and Freedom have come back to Suu in my work, as I no longer associate a sense of politics with her.

With this work, I attempt to expand my country’s views on Aung San Suu Kyi. I feel that my people have narrowed her to just a political figure. Having known Suu’s life better, I wish to portray her differently than a rigid and remote “fighter,” as Times magazine has described. I celebrate my love and appreciation for Aung San Suu Kyi in my drawing as I break away from traditional representations of a political figure. I glorify what I love of Suu outside the politics: her love for words in books and poems, her appreciation of nature, and her free spirit that follows intuition.

1. Runaway
Charcoal on Paper
73cm x 32cm



Self Portrait with Thanaka

As a restless individual who wrapped themselves around in expectations and worries, I find myself always “too serious”. I desire to strip away that kind of negative energy in this project. Whenever I think of my happiest time ever, I think of home – my childhood home. I’ve moved around a lot, from a small town to a major city, then from Burma to a titanic country. Every place has its charm, but Burma will always be home. Because I attended an international school and was introduced to a lot of foreign cultures, sometimes, I feel like I am pulled away so much from who I was before. For this project, I want to represent myself with a specific something from my memories that identifies me as Burmese and reminds me most of home: Thanaka. I was often told, “we must never forget where we came from.” No matter where I am, I’m a proud Burmese who celebrates her culture. Thanaka, reminding me of my heritage, represents lightheartedness, a free soul, and my precious childhood.

2. Self Portrait with Thanaka
Charcoal on Paper
91.4cm x 61cm

T_Swe_Self Portrait with Thanaka

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