Soe Yu Nwe

In my work, I explore different ways of narrating my experience of alienation, confusion, pain, and psychological confinement as a cultural outsider. I seek to create narrative spaces that explore the spatial relationships between the fragmented and dislocated self and the surrounding environment. 

I convey these experiences through the use of symbols (house, shrine, vessel, and snake) as metaphors for the self. As a third generation Chinese immigrant in Myanmar, I look back at Buddhist and Animistic practices in my native country, in addition to Chinese cultural practices, for inspiration in my work. 

Building upon the imagery of these ruined sacred spaces, I instill my metaphorical sculptural self with a sense of organicity and intricacy by gesturing the body, the viscera, the skeletal, and the botanical to express the vitality, the delicacy, and the injury of the spirit inhabiting and animating the forms.

Art making, to me, is an ontological quest. I explore the nature of being by attempting to depict the ephemerality of the human condition. Condensation and displacement of violent desires, tender affections, spiritual hopes, sexual instincts and maternal conflicts are intimated with metaphors and symbols of nature’s cyclical growth, decay and death. 

Through unearthing the architecture of the psyche to narrate the nature of inward self, I hope to reveal an enigmatic body, comprised of poetic spaces dwelled by the liminal self, fragmented and dislocated, in search and in transition, captured in a moment of growth and transformation.


Soe Yu Nwe (born 1989) is an artist from Myanmar. After earning a MFA degree in Ceramics at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design in 2015, Soe Yu has been participating in numerous residencies in the United States and across Asia. Her experience of living cross-culturally has inspired her to reflect upon her own identity through making, conceiving it as a fluid, fragile and fragmented entity. Through transfiguration of her emotional landscape by poetically depicting nature and body in parts, she ponders the complexities of individual identity in this rapidly changing globalized society. Soe Yu’s work has been exhibited internationally. Her recent exhibitions include a group show at Yavuz Gallery (Singapore), American Center of the U.S Embassy in Yangon (Myanmar), The National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta (Indonesia), Ayala Museum, Makati (Philippines) and a solo exhibition at Myanm/art, Yangon (Myanmar). In 2018, Soe Yu will participate in Dhaka Art Summit (Bangladesh)’s Bearing Point exhibition.

Travel/studio process Instagram: @soeyu89

Artwork Instagram: @soeyunwe