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Artist biography

Artist San Minn was born in Yangon in 1951.  As the only member in his family who is interested in art, he began drawing when he was a young child.  He attended art classes twice a week in 7th grade, during which he received his basic technical training from the artist U Nyunt Tin.  

San Minn continued to produce work as a university student and went on to study under the artists U Lunn Gywe, U Ba Lone Lay, U Thu Kha and U Nann Waii.  After graduating from college, he founded the Gangaw Village Group to help young artists promote their work and provide a venue for artists to socialize with their peers.

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From 1970 to 1988 San Minn was largely concerned with experimental works in impressionism, cubism, surrealism, collages, abstracts, and pointillism.  Throughout his career many of San Minn’s works were deemed incendiary by the government, leading him to go overseas in order to exhibit his works without censor. In 1974 San Minn was arrested and imprisoned for his participation in the riots that stemmed from the government’s failure to confer any honour and recognition on the highly respected diplomat U Thant’s legacy upon his death. San Minn’s experience subsequently became the inspiration for his Prison Series, a collection of paintings depicting the realities of these prisons and the effects on its captives.

About the show

San Minn: A Retrospective offers a glimpse of San Minn’s work from the last four decades. Each painting was selected to give the viewer a sense of San Minn’s vast imagination and his relentless study of the human condition. The exhibition will include several paintings that were previously censored but are now allowed to be shown in the artist’s native country.