Nge Lay: The sick classroom

Nge Lay, Myanmar b.1979 / The sick classroom 2013 / 27 wooden sculptures, timber walls, 8 desks, 26 student accessories, 1 table, 1 chair; 15 photographs, ed. 1/5; 20-channel video, ed. 1/5 / Proposed for the Queensland Art Gallery Collection / © The artist

Nge Lay’s large-scale installation The sick classroom 2013 developed from years of research and regular visits to Thuye’dan village, a rural area ten hours north of Yangon. With her husband, artist Aung Ko, Nge Lay established the Thuye’dan Village Art Project in 2007. The project seeks to engage and share contemporary art with the villagers, and many of the most successful artists in Myanmar have participated. During her long stays in Thuye’dan Village, Nge Lay also worked closely with local craftspeople to create sculptures that have become the basis for her recent sculptural works. The sick classroom is one of the most ambitious examples of contemporary art from Myanmar in recent years, and features life-size carved wooden sculptures based on the village school, including the classroom, the teacher and 26 first-year students. The installation emphasises the poor state of education in Myanmar and is a call for equal education in Myanmar for all children, both rural and urban.

‘The 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’ (APT8) / Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art / 21 Nov 2015 – 10 Apr 2016