Category: Featured

Exhibition: Yangon Echoes: Inside Heritage Homes

January 29 – May 21, 2017

Curators: Virginia Henderson, Tim Webster, Michael Schuster
Photographer: Tim Webster
Installation Design: Lynne Najita
Assistant Curator: Annie Reynolds

Yangon Echoes invites viewers behind the facades of century-old colonial buildings, inside heritage homes, to explore the lives of people living in the city formerly known as Rangoon.

This exhibition explores notions and values of heritage and home at a time of unprecedented change. It presents intimate views of domestic life while tracing the emergence of this city from decades of stagnation to its engagement with a rapidly changing world.

Today, Yangon is probably changing more rapidly than any other urban space in the world. Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is confronting the juggernaut of global capital after fifty years of isolation under socialist military rule.

Encountering this sudden turnaround, Yangon residents are grappling with these questions: What is the role of heritage at such a time of profound political, economic and social change? What do heritage and home mean to each of us? How are we informed by the past and what are our means for survival amidst the challenges of great flux?

Yangon Echoes, an oral history listening project, investigates multicultural diversity and individual everyday lived experiences, revealing the vulnerabilities and pressures on Yangon’s people and its heritage today.

The storytellers share thoughts and feelings, speaking of joy and tragedy, simple pleasures and aching issues. Told with courage and charm, the informal stories of home offer insight into what has happened and is happening to the city.

This exhibition, a popular history of buildings, charts social space and urban folklore, linking past to present via living memories.

Click here to download the exhibit handout.

East-West Center Gallery
John A. Burns Hall, 1601 East-West Road
(corner Dole St. & East-West Rd.)

Gallery admission is free.

Hours: Open Weekdays 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. and Sundays Noon–4:00 p.m.
Closed Saturdays, Feb. 20, Apr. 16, May 29

Parking on the UH-Mānoa campus is normally free and ample on Sundays.

Free school & group tours available

For further information: 944-7177

Malay Theatre: Intangible Cultural Heritage and Islam


February 7 – May 22, 2016

Curators: Kathy Foley (Wayang), Patricia Hardwick (Mak Yong), and Michael Schuster
Exhibition design: Lynne Najita

Please join us for the exhibition gala opening on Sunday, February 7, 2:00-3:30pm
which will include a reception and a live Indonesian puppet performance (wayang golek)
by visiting curator Kathy Foley

In traditional Malaysian theatre styles, such as shadow­puppetry (wayang kelantan) and the female dance drama (mak yong), influences from a variety of religions and cultures combined to create unique and distinctive Malay art forms. Through the display of puppets, costumes, instruments, video and photographs, this exhibition offers insight into these complex theatre forms and explores the social issues currently facing traditional Malaysian arts.

These art forms have been recognized by international authorities as “intangible cultural heritage,” which include traditions or living expressions inherited from ancestors, such as oral traditions, performing arts and traditional craft skills. But in recent decades, conservative religious models from the Middle East have introduced rejection of many of the more tolerant traditions of Southeast Asian Islam, prohibiting the representation of human form, banning women and men performing together, and rejecting spirit beliefs and that are part of local genres. This has led to a paradoxical situation in which traditional forms have been banned by authorities in some localities as being as “un-Islamic,” while they continue to be honored as national arts by the Malaysian federal government.

For more detailed background information on the exhibition and Southeast Asian performing arts, download the exhibition handout.

This exhibition is made possible by generous support from Richard H. Cox, The Hawaii Pacific Rim Society, and Aqua-Aston Hospitality.