Born in Yatsauk, southern Shan State, Chuu Wai studied art at the National University of Arts and Culture in Mandalay from 2008. She is one of the relatively few women artists in a country that is still very conservative. However, her art career started after censorship was lifted in 2012 and she has been able to express her femininity and feminism - in her paintings. Chuu Wai’s art practice focuses on female identities and empowerment, gaining recognition in the small but burgeoning art scene of Myanmar and among a select group of international collectors. In her exhibitions, she explores different aspectst of female identity : from harassment to the right to practice different jobs, to the right to dress as you wish in a country where women are still very much bound by societal expectations.
These artworks address the disconcerting interpretation of the official “truth” that is given about women in Myanmar. Are they really different from women in other countries? Is there one true unique situation of women across the world ? Or are there as many truths as different languages ? What are the similarities of women’s experiences in these different places? And what are the experiences of those who grew up in a different world? While remaining very attached to the culture of her country which she admires and respects, Chuu Wai Nyein wishes her art to challenge conventional attitudes and help people be open to new perspectives
Since the military Coup
The very first consequence of the coup for Chuu Way was the cancellation of her Facebook account, which had thousands of followers, by the military regime. From the beginning, Chuu Way has been on the barricades protesting for democracy.
She founded the WRITE FOR RIGHT movement which drew a group of young artists together who created hundreds of posters and other works of art to express the anger of the Burmese people and to gather funds for the Resistance movement. Highly visible on a truck that followed the protests in the early days after the coup, many of the artists have been imprisoned. Chuu Way has chosen exile and now lives outside the country.