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Sawangwongse Yawnghwe

States of Disaster

One of Sawangwongse Yawnghwe’s earliest memories is of the treacherous journey that his family made from Myanmar to Thailand in a horse-drawn carriage. It was 1972 and they were escaping persecution by the Tatmadaw (Burmese military), which had killed Yawnghwe’s grandfather, the nation’s first president, in 1962. Yawnghwe’s practice has been indelibly marked by this history. Drawing from oral accounts, personal photographs, and the allegorical canvases of 18th-century artist Francisco Goya, Yawnghwe’s paintings at once dissect politically significant phenomena and preserve familial memories. Building on the research of…

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