Sawangwongse Yawnghwe


Alternate Names





Sawangwongse Yawnghwe was born in a rebel-controlled corner of Shan State in 1971. Sawangwongse’s grandfather, Sao Shwe Thaik, the former ruler of the princely state of Yawnghwe, was independent Burma’s first president. After the death of his grandfather following a military coup, Sawangwongse’s father and grandmother co-founded a resistance movement opposed to Ne Win. Sawangwongse spent his youth in Thailand, before his family fled to Canada after a failed assassination attempt on his father. Sawangwongse now lives and works in the Netherlands. Sawangwongse’s works critique dominant Burmacentric artistic and historical narratives by presenting a personal, fictive counter-historiography, through a fictional museum, and the feature of suppression—what remains under the surface or hidden. Sawangwongse’s acute use of investigative methodology, is tempered by the way in which he uses to approach philosophical problems about what history means when the narratives of minorities have been dismantled and erased.

Yawnghwe has exhibited internationally, including: Thailand Biennale (2023); Singapore Biennale (2022); Kathmandu Triennale (2022); Dhaka Art Summit (2020 & 2018); Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (2018); Gwangju Biennale (2018); Qalandiya International — Jerusalem Show VIII (2016); Steirischer Herbst, Graz, Austria (2016); and Dak'Art Biennale of Contemporary African Art (2016). He has also exhibited in numerous museums, including: National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea (2020); Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, Poland (2018); Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands (2018); MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum, Chiang Mai, Thailand (2018); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland (2016); and Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands (2015). His work is housed in the collections of MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum in Thailand and Singapore Art Museum.

TKG+, 2024

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