Paw Oo Thett (1936-1993)

Paw Oo Thett was born in 1936 in Mandalay, the ancient capital of Burma. His father, U Hla Gyi was also an artist who taught art in a public school. Paw Oo Thett lost his mother at an early age. An only child, his father raised him with all the love and care he could. After the end of world war II, when Burma was still celebrating the end of hostilities, Paw Oo Thett then 12 years old became the victim of a serious accident. He lost his right hand while playing with a grenade.

Right handed, Paw Oo Thett had to learn how to use his left hand to write and draw. Reluctantly, Paw Oo Thett continued his schooling but did not go beyond the secondary level. Fortunately, a good friend of the family succeeded to convince the budding artist to go back to school. Paw Oo Thett ultimately reached basic academic training.

Paw Oo Thet learned how to draw and paint from his father. At age fifteen, he began to study with artist U Ba Thett, from whom he took the “Thett” part of his name, and U Khin Maung. While at school, Paw Oo Thett won many prizes in art competitions and participated in a few exhibitions. In 1959, he won a scholarship to study by correspondence with an art school based in the United States. At twenty-one, Paw Oo Thett managed to live from his art. He worked as an illustrator and cartoonist in local magazines, for the People Daily of Mandalay, the Mirror and the Working People’s Daily of Yangon. He was one of the founders of the comic monthly “Gali” published in Mandalay.

Paw Oo Thett contributed two of his paintings, “Asian Harbor Scene” (1974), and “Market” (1975), to benefit a UNICEF funding campaign. These paintings were used for the productions of diaries, stamps and greeting cards. He also provided illustrations for literacy campaign supported by the UN and the Burmese Government. Paw Oo Thett also illustrated a number of educational books published in the West. In 1963, his first one-man show in Yangon saw the entirety of his displayed paintings sold within minutes of opening. It was his very first real success.

Paw Oo Thett became well known amongst western art connoisseurs as an artist who could blend traditional Myanmar art and culture with Western modern techniques.
A heavy smoker, Paw Oo Thett died of Lung cancer at his home on the 13th of April 1993. He was only fifty-seven years old. His widow, Daw Tin Kyi passed away in 2003 but their three sons are still living in Mandalay, Myanmar.

 

All prices are in U.S. dollars.
All dimensions in cm or (inches).
 
Click picture for close up view
 
Name A Vow
Medium Water colour
Dimension 9x13 in
Name Fortune Teller and Clients
Medium Water colour
Dimension 11x15 in
Name Paying Respect to monk
Medium Water colour
Dimension 12x15 in
Name Novice Procession
Medium Water colour
Dimension 12x15 in
Name Toddy Palm Climber and Family
Medium Water colour
Dimension 16x10 in
Name Morning Offering
Medium Water colour
Dimension 10x14 in
Name Leaving The Monastery
Medium Water colour
Dimension 10x14 in
Name Family Prepares to Collect Toddy Juice
Medium Water colour
Dimension 10x14 in
Name Papier Mache Toys
Medium Water colour
Dimension 11x15 in
 
 

 

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