Myanmar was a new story, a clean page for our friend. While, he spent years in Vietnam, he was a total stranger in this new land. Alex was starting from scratch. Learn to understand a new culture, new people - make new friends.
Buddhism to a large extent, defines Myanmar’s landscape. Manifested in thousands of pagodas and temples spread throughout the country, its presence was felt everywhere.
Faith and spirituality reaches far deeper here. It was coming from the depths of people's hearts and minds. More than anything, it was felt by strong positive energy coming from local people.
As we discovered, Burmese preserved a more conservative Buddhist traditions and art. Firstly influenced by Indian, later Khmer and Thai art styles. All together, it had its own, distinct style.
Through his journey , Alex wished to get more closely acquainted with traditional Burmese art and architecture. He wished to meet the best of local artists and craftsmen. Witness behind the scene process. To bring something new, and different to Mystik River. Something we here in Melbourne have not seen before. But how?
‘I got to know a man there, and he was of great help. He has a gallery in Ngapali. He was the one to introduce to the guys i've been looking for’ shared Alex.
As it turned out, his friend knew some of the renowned Burmese sculptors. He himself had an established gallery in Ngapali, Myanmar. He agreed to travel with Alex. He showed key places - Yangon, Ngapalli, and Mandalay regions.
"It cost me many trips to find - the real guys."
The real guys. Those were the people he was looking for. Those who create sculptures in the footsteps of Burmese traditions passed over generations. From father to son. He would define them as - living national treasure.. He discovered there are infinite possibilities to sculpt a Buddha in state of nirvana. Each one is absolutely unique, with its own expression, feeling and vibrations.
“One of masters asked me what I going to do with these Buddha statues. i said that it was for the gallery and for the people. "
The master then replied ‘It's nice that it's for the people but remember a statue without a soul and spirit – is just a beautifully made wood or stone. Place it into pagoda for few days first, and then bring it among the people.’ A memorable moment for me.”– shared Alex.
Alex stands among few, contemplating those masters at work. Ever since his first visit, Alex has continued to maintain close relations with the masters he met. Some of their art works have already arrived to Mystik River Gallery. He will be making his fourth trip to Myanmar soon, to select next pieces for the gallery. We just can't wait to see the new collection and start our new project there.