Maung Theid Dhi (1950-2019)
Maung Theid Dhi was born in 1950 in Shwe Bo, Sagaing. He is one of the pioneer minimalist artists in Myanmar. He studied at the State School of Fine Arts but much of the art education then focused on basic concepts and realism.
He learnt about modernism from renowned modernists Paw Oo Thett and Khin One. Paw Oo Thett taught him how to simplify objects into lines and form, while Khin One taught him how to express artistic intent.
In 1974, he participated in the Wild Eye Exhibition with a group of artists that included Kyee Myint Saw, San Minn, and Win Pe Myint. Over the past four decades, Wild Eye has put on over 20 exhibitions on modern and contemporary art.
Maung Theid Dhi has been arrested repeatedly for his artwork during the period of severe censorship in Myanmar. In 1974, he spent a week in prison for his self portrait symbolizing oppression under the military government. In 1976, he was again arrested as his artwork was seen to be critical of the government. In 2000, he spent two and a half years in the infamous Insein prison for his portraits of Aung San Suu Kyi.
He is known for his signature style of geometric shapes and outlines, often with the use of strings to add a tactile dimension. He continuously refines and recreates his style to reflect changes in the world today.
His works have been shown in over 90 exhibitions locally and worldwide. One of his works, untitled, oil on teak board, 1973, was collected by the British Museum in 2022 for the museum permanent collection.
So sadly he passed away in 2019 at his family house in Yangon. His collection can be seen at the Nawaday Tharlar Gallery, Yangon.