Chaw Ei Thein


A painter as well as a conceptual and performance artist, Chaw Ei Thein (b. 1969) has won numerous international art awards for her work. She most often addresses the conflicts and contradictions inherent in her home country’s socio-political environment. Her subtly feminist works are both gracious and candid. In her 2009-2010 installation Bed, including red bell peppers and a mosquito net, Thein explores the universal concept of ‘bed,’ as she explains in an interview with Asia Art Archive. The artwork is not only about women, represented by the red bell peppers, but also about those often otherised, and their experience of abuse at different levels.

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Collaborating with Richard Streitmatter-Tran for the 2008 Singapore Biennale, she made ‘September Sweetness’, an installation made of five and a half tons of sugar, which commented on the erosion of hope in Burmese society.

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Chaw Ei Thein is now based in Santa Fe, U.S. She received the Elizabeth J McCormack and Jerome I Aaron fellowship in connection with the Asian Cultural Council in New York, which allowed her to both lecture and exhibit extensively in and outside of Myanmar. She participated in the 2008 Singapore Bienniale, 2009 Open Studios Exhibitions, International Studio and Curators Program in New York as well as several performance works in Myanmar and at Asia House, London in 2007. She is also a collector and director of the Sunflower Gallery in Yangon.