iShop Lawka Nat Art Gallery

A small studio bursting with colourful portraits of Shan state

When I paint, I can find inner peace, there’s no greed, no temper, no jealousy.
— U Than Aung

Kalaw resident artist

This artist studio is one of the oldest in Kalaw. Resident artist U Than Aung. He paints scenes from everyday life across Shan State from monks collecting alms in the morning, Akha women in their traditional cultural custom to farmers walking buffaloes’ home after a day working in the field. “When I paint, I can find inner peace, there’s no greed, no temper, no jealousy,” says U Than Aung whose career didn’t begin painting in a small studio, but rather under the bright lights and brushing shoulders with movie stars. “After I finished art school I moved to Yangon and worked as an artist for Yangon film and cinema company. I had to paint movie posters 20 to 30 feet, it was quite the challenge.”

Daily routine

U Than Aung moved to Kalaw in his early 20s and has owned his art gallery for 36 years. His schedule is strict, “discipline is key to being an artist,” says U Than Aung with his eyebrows raised to emphasise the point. Every day he visits the teashop behind his studio for breakfast then he opens the doors to his studio promptly at 8.30am.

What to buy?

Paintings range from $50 USD to $200. There’re also smaller gift hand painted cards. U Than Aung speaks very good English and if you’d like to find out more about his paintings, he can also talk to you about his latest work, painting scenes of Buddha in the local pagoda close to Inle lake.

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