Soe Naing, Burmese Artist

Thanks to the 2011 Brighton Festival which has positioned Burma as a central point of focus, the people of Brighton and visitors alike are currently being offered a wonderful insight in to Burma– its culture, people and politics. Within this context I would like to highlight some works of art by a Burmese artist called Soe Naing, whose art expresses the very spirit of Burma.

The World Art collection at Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove includes a small but vibrant collection of Soe Naing’s drawings, paintings and papercuts all of which express his creativity and energy. His paintings are populated by strange and often sinister creatures which appear to incorporate both human and animal forms. These oddly hybrid creatures were inspired by mythological creatures seen by the artist in temple wall paintings in the ancient city of Bagan, but in my opinion, the style in which they are painted gives them an almost child-like innocence.


Soe Naing’s use of vivid colours and visible brushstrokes invest his paintings with a real sense of energy and spontaneity. Amongst these brightly-coloured brushstrokes he also creates inky, black, calligraphic marks which give the impression of facial features, claws, ears, talons and tongues. Along with colour you can see that the expressive quality of line is important to Soe Naing. Every brushstroke is applied with a sense of urgency and this is also the case with his pencil drawings. These appear to have been made impulsively as if the artist were drawing automatically, without considered planning.

I absolutely love Soe Naing’s work because his style is so unique, full of energy, and has a childlike quality to it which gives it such originality.

Royal Pavilion & Museums is grateful for the assistance of Networking & Initiatives for Culture & the Arts (NICA) in acquiring these works.

Sarah Cook World Art volunteer

5 Responses

    • Anna Yavorskyy

      If Sarah Cook is available we would like to ask her for a favour, we are working on publishing a book on Soe Naing with his art work and we would like to ask if she could write about him, as much as possible. If she puts effort into this then she will be given a credit in the book and she will be paid. Our office is situated in Thailand, Bangkok. If you would like to explore more of Soe Naing’s artwork please visit one of our sites:
      We would be very grateful if she will be able to help us.
      Anna Yavorskyy

  1. pansuriya

    It is wonderful to see these older Soe Naings. He is restless, never stays in one theme too long, but has such an active mind, he explores each before leaping to the next.

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