Hla Pa (born 1972, Rakhine State, Myanmar) trains his lens on social, political and cultural issues by deconstructing folklore, epic tales and childhood games that are prevalent in Myanmar culture. He had solo exhibition called “The Storyteller” at the Nawaday Tharlar Gallery in 2014 that surveys a selection of his paintings from 2010 to 2014.
Hla Pa, born “Min Naing,” achieved moderate success as an illustrator of books and magazines early in his career. After studying fine arts under U Thit Lwin Soe, U Mya Aye, and U Kyaw Lay at the Yangon State School of Fine Arts, Hla Pa illustrated novel covers and short stories for Lin Lun Khin Press from 1994 to 2002. In 2010, he adopted the name of a local cultural journal, Hla Pa (where he had been contributing illustrations) as his own pen name as a form of commitment to the illustrated arts. It was not until 2010 that Hla Pa shifted course and took up painting, a medium that he claims gives him more creative freedom than the commissions of his past works on paper.
Hla Pa creates his own unique narrative style using defined lines, bright colors, and narrative quality of comic strips to tell stories in his paintings - often dealing with subjects as diverse as tradition, modernity, love, old age, and democracy. The storytelling and the parable aspects of Hla Pa's art are reminiscent of the parable qualities in Bagan Buddhist murals, both expressing social and moral messages. In reworking familiar visual sign to imbue new meaning, Hla Pa is an astute documenter of Myanmar modern life. Last a few years he has been spending more time on doing Putet Comics series for children as comics’ culture in Myanmar is sadly disappearing. His collection can be seen at the Nawaday Tharlar Gallery in Yangon. He lives and works in Yangon as a fulltime artist.