The Name, 2008–ongoing
Video projection, books and musical score
Collection of the Artists
The Name revisits established accounts of Myanmar’s past by intervening in its ideologically-driven gaps. The husband-and-wife artist duo have resurrected figures from the nineteenth-century Anglo-Burmese Wars and beyond, recuperating an autochthonous historical voice against what they perceive as a colonial narrative. The three Anglo-Burmese Wars left the Burmese empire depleted; with each defeat, the Konbaung kings of Burma surrendered more territory to the British, until the final conflict concluded with the annexation of the country. In this work, portraits adorned with ornate, arabesque patterns emerge as uncanny apparitions, deliberately aestheticised and re-presented as majestic, almost monumental tributes. The series includes photographic images of figures such as King Thibaw, U Wisara (a Buddhist monk who died after a six-month hunger strike against British rule in 1929, becoming an icon of the nascent independence movement) and Saya San (the leader of the so-called Saya San Rebellion in 1930–1932, a key event of the anti-colonialist crusade).