Kyaw Moe KHINE

Kyaw Moe Khine is a young Yangon based Muslim artist .  One of the new breed of exciting young men and women who combine many diverse disciplines, KMK operates under the (street) name of BARTWASNOTHERE.  He and two close friends established a working group called ROAR with the idea of taking their art to Rangoon as getting Rangoon to come and see their art was proving a challenge. Graffiti, street art and performance art through live events keeps KMK and his “crew" busy. KMK is supported by the Myan/Art co-operative space in downtown Yangon and in 2017 hosted a one man show for the artist, giving him a platform for his recent Remember When? and Icon? series which was rejected by all other galleries as too controversial.

Being raised as an inner city youth in the early 2000s, the feeling of cultural inertia led KMK to spend a great deal of time hanging out in the video and book rental spots and through these he became immersed in the pop sub culture that was always bubbling underground in Yangon.Burmese comics/cartoons have always played a major role in disrupting the status quo or criticising the nor and as KMK says "Burmese comic characters are entertaining, informative, and most importantly, intimate. Now that many other distractions have replaced our beloved icons, it’s only fair that we thank the old icons for being with us through all the good and bad times in our early lives”.

The new influences permeating the slowly modernising Burma post 2010 is clearly represented in his paintings.  The Burmese cartoon characters are set against well known US TV series backgrounds (spot South Park and the Simpsons) and combined with lines from current RAP mega-stars (Jay-Z, Eminem and DJ Khaled are all there). The combination crosses many boundaries whether cultural, age or geographical.  The impact is immense.


For a young and ambitious artist who has, it seems, no boundaries the future is bright but likely to be controversial in a country still not comfortable with many things e in the west still take for granted.