Fa­ther of the NLD flag:

Re­mem­ber­ing Maung Maung Thaik

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - BY NYO ME

HIS most cel­e­brated work, once banned, can now be seen ev­ery­where.

Maung Maung Thaik, who de­signed the orig­i­nal flag of the Na­tional League for Democ­racy, died five years ago, but his fel­low artists and ad­mir­ers re­mem­ber him still.

On Septem­ber 25, they held a one-day com­mem­o­ra­tion in his hon­our at A-1 Stu­dio. His son Zay Phyo and his old friend U Thein Htut or­gan­ised the ex­hibit, putting on dis­play more than 70 of his art­works.

“We brought to­gether artists who had known my fa­ther and asked them for their mem­o­ries of him,” said Zay Phyo. “I also con­trib­uted some cover art, as well as 13 paint­ings of my own, five posters and some old de­signs by U Thein and por­traits of my fa­ther painted by his col­leagues. Most of the cov­ers are not orig­i­nal, but soft copies that I printed out.”

Zay Phyo said he had or­gan­ised a sim­i­lar ex­hi­bi­tion at Gallery 65 three years ago to com­mem­o­rate the sec­ond an­niver­sary of his fa­ther’s pass­ing. At that time, many of the paint­ings were avail­able for pur­chase; this year’s cel­e­bra­tion how­ever, was not for sale.

Friend U Thein Htut re­mem­bered grow­ing up with the late Maung Thaik in the 1940s and 1950s. He said they went into busi­ness to­gether dur­ing Thingyan in 1950.

“Then, all the ladies wore longyis dur­ing the wa­ter fes­tiv­i­ties. We painted padauk flow­ers on plain longyis in oils and sold them for 25 pya each,” he said, re­mem­ber­ing a by­gone era. “This was at the time when our pocket money was only 5 or 10 pya. We painted about 30 longyis. I think of Maung Thaik every Thingyan.

“He was a great free­hand artist and very knowl­edge­able about anatomy. He painted a lot of por­traits of women. He would never il­lus­trate a book cover with­out read­ing the whole book first, in or­der to get a feel­ing for it,” he said.

Painter Myo Myint Nyein also shared mem­o­ries of Maung Maung Thaik, ex­plain­ing how he came up with his iconic im­age.

“In 1988, the NLD en­gaged a tra­di­tional painter from Man­dalay to come up with a de­sign for the party flag. But a tech­ni­cal prob­lem arose with the silkscreen print­ing. So Maung Maung Thaik drew the yel­low pea­cock try­ing to reach the white star against the red back­ground red,” said painter Myo Myint Nyein.

The cur­rent de­sign of the flag has since been slightly al­tered.

Video clips of the me­mo­rial speeches by car­toon­ists U Ngwe Kyi, U Kyaw Thaung and U Tin Hla Win were also dis­played at the me­mo­rial, while painters were in­vited to draw por­traits of hired mod­els in the same style as Maung Maung Thaik’s old book cov­ers.

Maung Maung Thaik died of can­cer at the age of 66 in Au­gust 2011.

A1 Film is a Myan­mar pro­duc­tion com­pany that has won Myan­mar Mo­tion Pic­ture Academy Awards. It pro­duced the 1940 film Chit Yay Sin and the 1935 Ja­pan Yin Thwe.

Photo: Aung Khant

Maung Maung Thaik, who died five years ago on Septem­ber 25, de­signed the iconic NLD flag back in 1988.

Dur­ing the event, guest artists were in­vited to paint por­traits of mod­els in the same style as Maung Maung Thaik.

On Septem­ber 25, his son Zay Phyo (cen­tre-right), hosted a com­mem­o­ra­tion in his hon­our at A-1 Stu­dio. Zay Phyo and his fam­ily are shown here next to a por­trait of Maung Maung Thaik.

Guests mill around the A-1 Stu­dio on Septem­ber 25 to ex­am­ine Maung Maung Thaik’s work and the trib­utes to him.

Photos: Nyo Me

The artist also made a ca­reer paint­ing novel and mag­a­zine cov­ers.

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