Myanmar Issue |

Humanity, Identity & Nudity

Mayco Naing

Text by editorial

The female body has been the subject of discourse since the very first image was impressed on a surface for posterity. It represented procreation, fertility, even seduction. As opposed to the male form, the idea of gentility and reticence has been part of a growing cultural narrative over centuries, even in countries like Myanmar. Represented in Buddhist art, the female is a source of life and knowledge – a sorcerer, a bearer.

In today’s context, historical underpinnings are severed from the evolution of the female form which was meant to be appreciated rather than confounded. Instead of a ceremonial foundation, it now represents transgression, sacrilege,
and shame, with efforts to hide it from public view, revealing instead, the contested domains
of patriarchy and possession. In presenting
her series, Mayco denounces this notion by segmenting the body into parts, rendering each anatomical part as an object, disengaged from the whole. The incremental disclosure then doesn’t allow for the body to be seen as a single entity, but rather as a jigsaw, pieced together in our minds, questioning our own motivations and cravings, alerting us to a sense of growing sexism, even fetishism.

From this perspective, the body is neither nude nor naked; it is a surface on which our desires are projected, and the very centre
 from which we begin to sense one another. The changing hues and tonalities are perhaps projections, emotive dyes that at times hide more than they reveal. Here, questions of beauty and sensuality underlie and perhaps overwhelm how we construe its effect on us, questioning whether one is ever neutral in one’s own perception of the form. And so, in its simplest state, the body too represents a system of signs, an indication of how humans connect through the ages by virtue of the body, the same body in different shapes and colours, different races, all as one corpus. It is as young and youthful, as it is ancient and venerated.

All images from the series Humanity, Identity & Nudity , Yangon, 2015 Digital

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