Chan Chao’s Burma: Something Went Wrong on Display through March 28

Posted: February 24, 2003 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Born in Burma, Chan Chao and his family left for the United States in 1978, when he was 12 years old. In his exhibition, Burma: Something Went Wrong Chao’s most recent portraits, shot on personal assignment in the remote area of Southeast Asia on Burma’s border with India and Thailand, focus not on political rebellion and warfare, but rather Chao’s rediscovery of his native culture. George Mason Gallery Program Director Kirby Malone presents this installation in the Johnson Center and Fine Arts Galleries beginning today and running through March 28.

An artist’s talk begins at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 20, in the Fine Arts Gallery, followed by a reception at 5:30 in the Johnson Center Gallery. In addition to the Burma series, Chao’s show at Mason also features a series of larger-than-life-size nude portraits.

“Burma is a golden land, the richest country in Asia, the envy of its neighbors; its people are the kindest, most hospitable on earth,” says Amitav Ghosh in his afterword to Burma: Something Went Wrong, Chao’s acclaimed book documenting his trips to his native country. With his art, Chao puts a face to one of the most troubled and least understood countries of our world. While Burma (now Myanmar) is a nation in violent conflict, Chao’s technique is to create a portrait featuring the refugees, pro-democracy insurgents, soldiers, and others who populate the country, against the lush, colorful, fragrant backdrop of what is undoubtedly a beautiful country. The juxtaposition informs the viewer that this region, although in constant turmoil, is still a “golden land.”

The Johnson Center Gallery is located on the main level of the building, and the Fine Arts Gallery is located on the ground floor of the Fine Arts Building in Room B104. Galleries are open Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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