121 x 91 cm (48×36 in)
Acrylic on Burmese fabric
This artwork is a customised creation for a private collection.
Fabric transcends its materiality, becoming a theater of social struggle, particularly in the context of women’s roles. Attire becomes a contested terrain for patriarchal and feminist ideologies. While historically enclosing conventional femininity, fabric now catalyses resistance against military and patriarchal powers.
This artwork weaves history, culture, and religion into a narrative of this battle. In Myanmar, a belief persists that a man’s ‘hpone’ (masculine essence) can be lost by passing under female clothing like the longyi, a traditional skirt. This conviction shapes daily life; women avoid hanging clothes higher than men’s, fearing it would taint male ‘hpone.’ Thus, clothing is employed as a tool of feminist resistance.
Post the 2021 coup, Yangon’s streets bore women’s longyis, taunting the military, who refrained from passing beneath due to superstition. This movement, the Sarong Revolution, clashed with the military’s bid to preserve tradition by mandating longyi-wearing, illustrating fabric’s role in ideological battles.
Throughout my career, I’ve synthesised diverse influences, reflected here in an aesthetic uniting disparate passions.