Asia

Moe Satt
Hands Around In Yangon

Hands Around in Yangon is both a secular and religious exploration of the meaning of hands in Myanmar. Moe Satt’s father is Muslim, while his mother is Buddhist. In the Buddhist context, hand gestures or mudras are often important in signifying the identity of deities. Here, Satt presents a conceptual video of intense observation of hands as a cultural signals by filming the manipulation of materials involved in various labor and tasks—counting money, cutting nails, peeling vegetables. While the faces of the filmed subjects are obscured, their identities and psychological expression reside in their quasi-ritualistic repetition of hand gestures as they perfect their particular craft with care. As the film ends with shots of hands patting a pregnant belly, the simple stroking points to the way minute gestures in the most mundane contexts can become responsible for the ultimate miracle of life.

Moe Satt is a Burmese visual and performance artist who uses his own body as a symbolic field for exploring self, identity, embodiment, and political resistance. He is part of a renowned generation of experimental contemporary Burmese artists who overcame government censorship and oppression to engage with conceptual artwork, the body, and identity. He founded the Beyond Pressure International Performance Art Festival in Yangon, Myanmar.