Paw Oo Thet

Born in Mandalay, Paw Oo, as he was known, lost his right arm from the wrist at the age of 12 when a bomb left over from WWII exploded as he and his friends were playing with it. He learned to use his left hand with great skill and became a well-known water colorist with a style unique to himself. He studied first with U Ba Thet and later with Bahn U Khin Maung who enlarged upon U Ba Thet's view of innovation to teach his young pupils about modern art.



Paw Oo with his friend and classmate Win Pe took correspondence courses from the Twelve Famous Artists School of the United States in 1959. In spite of studying under various masters, Paw Oo felt U ba Thet was his true teacher and in honor of his teacher, he affixed the word Thet to his own name, a common practice among artists and writers. After working at Ludu Dailay for about ten years, Paw Oo Thet came to Yangon in 1961 to make his fortune. By then, he was doing modern works. Paw Oo Thet was a founder member of Lokanat Gallery.



In Yangon, Paw Oo Thet soon received commissions to illustrate publications, including books by the famous writer Khin Myo Chit, who wrote in English on culture and history.



Paw Oo Thet's best known works are bright water colours executed with swift lines, portraying local scenes such as markets, monasteries etc. His earlier works were variations of the classical style of old wall paintings. He wrote many articles on art for the prestigious literary magazine 'Moe Way', some in the form of letters to his wife.



A book on his life and art was published by Swiftwind Books of Yangon, titled 'Paw Oo Thett: His Life and Creativity'.