Let’s dream to­gether

The Myanmar Times - - Work -

AS drag­on­flies and songs of reg­gae singer Saw Phoe Kwar bil­lowed in the breeze on Oc­to­ber 16, Ma­ha­ban­doola Park filled with mul­ti­me­dia artists and art lovers for Col­lec­tive Dream, an artis­tic show­case put on in col­lab­o­ra­tion with PEN Myan­mar, Myan­mar Story Teller and the Myan­mar Art So­cial Project.

The pur­pose of the show, said writer Daw Than Myint Aung, was to look past pa­tri­o­tism and na­tion­al­ism, with the end goal of cre­at­ing sus­tain­able peace for peo­ple around the world.

Col­lec­tive Dream, shar­ing the same name as a poem by famed writer Ma Thida (San­chaung) which she wrote for the 70th an­niver­sary of the United Na­tions, fea­tured works by per­for­mance artists, mu­si­cians, po­ets and graf­fiti artists.

“I first used the words ‘Col­lec­tive Dream’ at a Burma Stud­ies Con­fer­ence held in Sin­ga­pore,” said the show’s main speaker, Ma Thida. “Ev­ery­body fo­cuses on their own iden­tity and be­come weak at find­ing a col­lec­tive iden­tity. I felt that our col­lec­tive dream – to cre­ate a peace­ful hu­man so­ci­ety in the fu­ture – has been lost.”

Ma Thida’s “col­lec­tive dream” idea is not a new one. She has been think­ing and writ­ing about this topic since the 70th an­niver­sary last year, though she notes that most peo­ple haven’t read her ar­ti­cles.

To reach a wider au­di­ence, Ma Thida had the idea to write a poem, “to let the pub­lic be­come friendly with that phrase”. Over the course of three or four months, she started get­ting in touch with artists from a va­ri­ety of back­grounds, and be­gan plan­ning the Col­lec­tive Dream event.

One of the artists Ma Thida con­tacted was Sang Zaw Ht­way who uses re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als in his work to com­ment on the re­la­tion­ship be­tween art, pol­i­tics and en­vi­ron­men­tal­ism.

Sang Zaw Ht­way had five works on dis­play at Col­lec­tive Dream – in­clud­ing re­pur­posed re­cy­cled ob­jects, hand­print paint­ings, and a full-length mir­ror in­stal­la­tion in which vis­i­tors would see them­selves and the In­de­pen­dence Mon­u­ment in the re­flec­tion.

“I did the mir­ror in­stal­la­tion so that peo­ple feel the In­de­pen­dence Mon­u­ment stand­ing with us. We don’t need to look up,” said the ex-po­lit­i­cal pris­oner.

As night­fall came, Col­lec­tive Dream in­spired many with a read­ing of Ma Thida’s poem from artists and or­di­nary folks.

The poem’s open­ing lines are a call to the peo­ple. “Oh cit­i­zens, let’s dream to­gether,” Ma Thida writes, urg­ing through­out her verses peo­ple to shift their think­ing from in­di­vid­ual to col­lec­tive, the only way to move in the di­rec­tion of peace.

“To be hon­est, I’m not yet sat­is­fied,” said Ma Thida. “I want the poem to be dis­trib­uted across the coun­try and in var­i­ous lan­guages. I want to cam­paign as much as pos­si­ble un­til the idea of dream­ing to­gether is in­stilled in the heart of the pub­lic.”

Pho­tos: Nyo Me

Vis­i­tors check out an art in­stal­la­tion by Sang Zaw Ht­way.

A dra­matic back­drop pro­vided unique photo op­tions.

Per­for­mance art fea­tured at the event.

A young girl ex­plores her cre­ative side.

Ma Thida re­cites a poem.

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