This week we caught up with Bart Was Not Here to ask him a few questions about life in Myanmar after the country's military coup.
Bart Was Not Here's poster Gods and Prophets On Strike is on sale until 24 June 2021.
How has Myanmar’s artistic community responded to the coup?
The artist community was the first to respond. I felt great that we started making artworks and graphics when the singers, movie stars, and social influencers were tip toeing around it. A lot of artworks and graphics have come out in support for the cause.
How has your daily life been impacted?
Not just my daily life, for everyone I know they are just sitting still at their homes. Because the economy has stopped and the banks are dead. The new normal is people lining up at ATMs to take their money out (with 300$ cap for every day). The USD exchange rates have skyrocketed. The gold price is at all time high. The bottom line is people are gonna get so much poorer.
We understand there have been widespread internet blackouts, can you please tell us how this has effected your ability to communicate with your community in the country but also internationally?
That is the worst. I have a lot of friends that are in digital media and marketing businesses. They can’t do shit anymore. And for me, I lost my internet so I haven't been able to research for my paintings properly. But those are just small hurdles. The worst thing is in the rural areas/countryside. They cut off internet and keep killing innocent people with no repercussions of the internet. And those areas don’t get the real news of what's happening all over the country.
Looking to the near future what are your plans, do you see yourself staying in Yangon?
Are you still creating work during this time?
I am but only small sketches. I am trying to build a series of paintings reacting to the whole timeline of this fiasco. So I am just taking my time while I help the people in other ways.
ABOUT THE ARTIST:
Born in 1996, Bart Was Not Here, represents the new generation of Myanmar artists.
Tempted by the tags and the bubble letters painted on the streets of Yangon, Bart began “experimenting” with spray cans in the 8th grade. He gave himself the alias “Bart Was Not Here” after the character in “The Simpsons”, alluding to the tongue-in-cheek quality in his artworks. Inspired by Pop Art and Lowbrow Art along with the popular culture aspects, Bart’s expressions in his art on or off the walls are a mix of text and image juxtaposing Burmese and imported cultural norms.