Materials of Life

Open Call

Materials of Life © Goethe-Institut Myanmar

Artistic Creation and Environmental Resources

Timeline of the program

18 March 2024 – 12 April 2024

Application Deadline

29 February 2024

Who can apply?

For artists residing in Myanmar, there is no age limit. We strongly encourage starting and mid-career artists to present an application. The workshops are free entry and compulsory to join the entire series. All the materials for the workshop will be provided. 

What is 'Materials of life'?

Today, we witness a world of new technologies, artificial intelligence, and digital support and transformation. This context takes us to question ourselves about the analogue and the haptic. What signifies art today, and how does it impact the environment by changing it? What does it mean by artisanship and working with hands and natural materials? What are the values we find in a physical art object today?
The cultural repertories and material culture of Myanmar are rich. In a series of workshops, we will seek inspiration from the materials and techniques of ancient, local, folk and traditional sources in Myanmar to produce contemporary art. We think of the mural paintings of ancient buildings and the objects that are used in daily life in popular culture.
In a series of workshops, participants will learn how to engage pigments, designs, patterns, and supports (fibres, papers, textiles) that come from and respect nature. 
We seek artists who are willing to engage in the production of contemporary, original art pieces by making use of materials and techniques that may be regarded as “traditional”, “ancient”, and “typical” of the plural cultures of Myanmar.  

Program Framework

Artists are invited to participate in the workshops in Yangon to produce contemporary expressions with these materials. We encourage artists to use these materials and techniques in unconventional, creative, inspiring and innovative ways.
The selected artists are expected to participate in four workshops to learn techniques to produce art pieces with rattan/bamboo, textiles, natural pigments and papers. The workshops will take place at the end of March and the beginning of April 2024. 
During the workshops, participants will be invited to present a proposal to produce art pieces based on the capacities learned throughout the workshops and show their work at the collective exhibition “Materials of Life: Artistic Creation and Environmental Resources” to be held at Goethe-Institut Myanmar in June 2024. A curatorial team of experts will select the pieces that best relate to this call to participate in the group exhibition.
The selected artists will receive a production grant to realize their piece(s) and the workshops will be organized around four main materials:
1. Rattan and bamboo: fibre weaving and production of sculptures.
2. Pigments, paints, and dyes: plants, minerals, and earth.
3. Textiles: produced with cotton, linen, silk, etc.
4. Papers made with rice tree bark, like Shan paper, palm leaf and other fibres. 
Experienced local artisans from Mandalay and Inle, Shan state, will conduct the workshops. 
During the workshops, the following topics will also be discussed:

  • How can artisanship or traditional materials of Myanmar be a source of inspiration for creating contemporary art?
  • What materials and resources are at hand, in nature, that artistic practitioners can use? What is the relation between art and nature?
  • How can art be produced today with no environmental impact? 

Application Requirements

  1. Motivation letter where the artist explains her/his interest and relation to the topic of this call. (300 – 500 words; English or Myanmar)
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. Portfolio of recent works (if applicable)

Proposals will be sent by email to

Application Timeline

The deadline for applications: Thursday, 29 February 2024
The jury meets for selection process: 4 –7 March 2024
Notifications to those shortlisted: 8 March 2024
Interviews: 11 - 13 March 2024
Results announcement: 15 March 2024

To help you prepare for the application, we offer online orientation sessions in Myanmar language. The sessions detail the Materials of Life program in more depth and respond to all your questions about the program. 

  • Monday, 12 February 2024, 16:00 – 17:00 - register by Thursday, 8 February 
  • Monday, 19th February 2024, 16:00 – 17:00 - register by Thursday, 15 February 
  • Monday, 26 February 2024, 16:00 – 17:00 - register by Thursday, 22 February 

Please register by sending us an email to
An international selection committee will look into the proposals and select the participants based on their artistic quality and explicit relation to the topic of this call. Pre-selected artists will be invited for an online interview with the committee. 
In case of any enquiries, please contact:
Khaing Mon Myat

Follow us