Nge Lay, born in 1979, in Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar, is a multi-media artist with a particular interest in performance and photography. She graduated with Bachelor degrees in fine art from the National University of Art and Culture in 2003, as well as in economics from the Yangon East University in 2004.
Using everyday imagery and settings to translate her ideas about life, her country and her own identity, she creates photographs that hover between the descriptive, the spiritual, and the melo-dramatic. When photographing her subjects, Nge Lay plays with light and shadow in new ways to create the quiet but expectant tension that characterizes her colour prints.
“At a glance, in today’s Myanmar society, sexual discrimination in our everyday life and work environment is not as strong as before. However, due to deep-rooted conventions, as well as economic and political imbalances, the role of women has not yet been recognised despite the fact that an icon such as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is more powerful than any male”.
One of her recent works, Endless Story, consists of photocollaged portraits dating between the 1930s and 1970s and photographed in Thuyeddan, Panduan Township in Bago Division. These portraits are based on her research of the unresolved relationship between traditional lifestyles and modernity articulated through original photographic shots, and juxtaposed with the freedom of form that also suggests how life in rural Myanmar is changing. Nge Lay’s photographs emphasize the intensity of her subjects in a precise fragment of time and space.
Nge Lay has been an active participant in many exhibitions in Myanmar since 2002, and since 2009 her photographic works have been included in several notable art projects in Singapore, Korea and Vietnam. In 2011, she had her first solo show in Tokyo, Japan, and in January 2012 she was a finalist in the Sovereign Art Asia Prize in Singapore. She took part in the Singapore Biennale 2013.
The artist is a co-organiser of the Thuye’dan Village Art Project, a project that brings art experiences, classes and exhibitions to a community in rural Myanmar.