two channel hd digital video, color, sound
Burmese Days looks at cultural production in Yangon and how it has been affected by the political regime. The two-channel film takes its name from George Orwell’s novel of the same title. Some regard Orwell’s books as prescient: tracking Myanmars recent history from colonial oppression in Burmese Days, the socialist military coup in Animal Farm, to the tyrannical dictatorship portrayed in his most famous novel 1984.
Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has been in conflict ever since it became independent in 1948. For much of its history, it has been under military control. It got a civilian government in 2011 but in 2021 the military intervened again.
The military junta control all artistic production; censoring works including George Orwell’s novels and forcing galleries to seek permission for the artworks they exhibited. Røys’s Burmese Days occupies the aftermath of the 2012 media reforms and intimately portrays Yangon as a site where the personal and the political are overlaid. Drawing upon the real experiences of individuals who lived under the regime – from the punk vocalist with outspoken lyrics and the artist who makes work out of rubbish – Røys intertwines subjectivity into an uncertain reality.
Cassandra Needham. John Jones Project Space, London
Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi
San Zaw Htway
Aung Ba Nyo, Oslo
Khin Maung Saw, Berlin
Mary Hla, London
So Moe Aung, Yangon
Matthias Kispert, Yangon/London
OCA, Office for Contemporary Art Norway
The Fritt Ord Foundation