Myanmar Photo Archive

Collaboration with Myanmar Photo Archive ©Goethe-Institut Myanmar

The Myanmar Photo Archive and Goethe-Institut Myanmar are pleased to announce a collaboration created to extend, enforce, and build a broader understanding of Myanmar's visual history. In the next two years, Myanmar Photo Archive and the Goethe-Institut Myanmar will give grants to artists, writers, and academics to interpret the vast collection of archival materials. The project will also work on incubators, exhibitions, and digitization stations to give meaning to personal imagery.

The Myanmar Photo Archive started its collection in 2013. It is a physical archive of photographic materials from Myanmar. The archive aimed from the start to create a comprehensive record of photographic materials and culture. Additionally, it intended to provide a historical context to the materials within the archive. The earliest images are from 1890 and range until the present decade, and more than 30.000 images and negatives have been currently preserved. The production of the widely popular book "Burmese Photographers", with an accompanying exhibition, was supported by Goethe-Institut Myanmar in 2018. Over the years, Myanmar Photo Archive has published six books with narratives from the archive. The books were locally produced and distributed in Myanmar and internationally, with award nominations at festivals and competitions. Myanmar Photo Archive also hosted book-making workshops with the Goethe-Institut Myanmar in Yangon.

We are back and active after a hiatus due to the pandemic and recent local events. The Goethe-Institut Myanmar has generously reinforced the Myanmar Photo Archive to build a richer visual archive of Myanmar's history with a special grant for a long-term project. The collaboration of Goethe-Institute Myanmar and Myanmar Photo Archive focuses on processing and expanding visual materials with various communities in cooperation with national and international artists, writers, and academics interested in cultural-historical contexts and appropriation of the archive material. 

The collaboration between the Goethe-Institut Myanmar and the Myanmar Photo Archive is rooted in the intention to create access to materials for civil society, expanding discourse and attention internationally to alternative narratives about Myanmar. To these goals, the establishment of incubators, digitalization of archival holdings, alternative publishing, and exhibitions of newly creative artworks will be accomplished in the future. These activities will take place in Myanmar, accompanied by an international publication program to bring awareness to Myanmar's rich history abroad. 

Rethink Recap © Goethe-Institut Myanmar

Rethink Art Exhibition

The Myanmar Photo Archive's Rethink Art Exhibition at the Goethe-Institut Myanmar Auditorium, which ran successfully from January 15th to 30th, marked a significant milestone for us. This exhibition showcased various artworks created through an Open Call, inviting artists to reinterpret the photographic materials from the archive.
The showcased pieces included paintings, collage series, photo series, short films, and written works presented in a unique newspaper format. To enhance the experience, special talk events were held every Saturday, where Authors Min Chit Paing and Nyan Yel Yint Win, who took part in the Open Call, made a reading section of their works. Special guests like Save Myanmar Film and Frederick Lee (Taiki) shared valuable knowledge on preserving old Myanmar films and film photography.
A Digitization station was set up throughout the two weeks, offering free digitization services for old photos and photographic materials. The response was heartening, with approximately 40 daily visitors to the Myanmar Photo Archive's Rethink exhibition. The special talk show drew over 100 attendees, and nearly 300 people celebrated the exhibition at the opening ceremony.
We extend our sincere gratitude to everyone who attended and supported the exhibition. Your presence and enthusiasm made this event a truly memorable and successful endeavour.

  • Burmese Photographers ©Goethe-Institut Myanmar

    Burmese Photographers

  • Exhibitions & Workshops ©Goethe-Institut Myanmar

    Exhibitions & Workshops

  • More to come ©Goethe-Institut Myanmar

    More to come