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One of the nicest experiences of any research, for me, is being distracted by chance discoveries. These may not relate directly to the main project or topic of investigation, but often point to exciting rabbit-holes and tangents.

This image comes from a November 1959 edition of Pangyi (Art/Painting) magazine, found in the Yangon University library. In an accompanying article titled “Burmese Women, Make Art!” the (male) artist Myat Kyaw exhorted women: “To be an artist, you don’t need to be physically pretty like an actress; you don’t need to be very stout, strong and healthy like a woman military officer. Plus, you won’t lose your composure like a woman hawker or a woman traditional dancer.”

I might not be able to use this in my Site & Space in Southeast Asia research project, since my focus there is on the decades before WWII. But I’ll definitely be using this stunning illustration and quotation elsewhere.

Many thanks to Htoo Lwin Myo for his excellent translation and research assistance with this article, and other materials found in the Yangon University library.

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Created on 21 May 2019 | Last updated on 21 May 2019
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