Asia’s Art Cities According to Collectors: Ivan Pun on Yangon

ART Power HK

Editor’s Note: There are many sides to modern Asian metropolis, and just as many ways to visit them. For collectors and art lovers, the best way to explore new urban scenarios and learn about a country’s cultural, social and political situation is certainly through contemporary art. However, the question for those who set foot in a new city for the first time is always the same: where do I start my artistic adventure from?

Here at CoBo we have a few, very exciting cues; for our Asia’s Art Cities Guide we have asked the most authoritative local collectors to share their best kept secrets about their own city’s art scene. Whether it is Kim Camacho’s Manila, the Jakarta art scene through the eyes of Tom Tandio, Adrian Cheng’s recommendations about the new cultural districts in Hong Kong, Disaphol Chansiri’s anticipation of the two new biennales in Thailand, Ivan Pun’s exploration in Myanmar, Ichrio Fukano’s highlights on art and lifestyle in Tokyo, the exclusive insights of Tarana Sawhney on Delhi, Higgin Kim’s insider’s take on Seoul, or Zheng Hao’s all-time favourite Shanghai, we want to give you a foray into what these Asian fast-developing cities have to offer.

In conjunction with our collectors art tours, we want to bring you straight to the galleries, art spaces, or informal hangouts that will influence trends for the Asian art scene to come, to see by yourself in which direction the artistic stream is going. If it’s true that exploring the Asian art scene means getting off the beaten path and taking an unconventional look at these vibrant hubs, then wearing the lens of these bunch of top-notch insiders is the best way to do it.


The Burmese entrepreneur and collector Ivan Pun is a cosmopolitan soul who was raised between Hong Kong, Thailand, Myanmar and Britain, and decided to return to Yangon in 2011. Today, he is based between the former Myanmar capital and Hong Kong, which makes him the perfect guide for all things artsy and fashionable in Yangon. He has given a big surge of energy to contemporary local culture by founding the lifestyle agency Pun + Projects, which is behind TS.1, a pop-up arts, retail, food, design, and performance space, as well as a number of uber-cool restaurants in town.


Yangon – Ivan Pun


How would you describe the art scene in Myanmar / Yangon?

Authentic, because it has grown on its own without any outside influence.


Your mixed-cultural background inspires you to bring Southeast Asian food culture to Hong Kong. Can you tell us about the most mixed-cultural spot in Myanmar / Yangon?

Downtown Yangon, which was really where all the different worlds came together.


Suggest the best pick-up line to open a conversation with Burmese artists.

Who is your favourite artist? Because they will usually say themselves!


Where is your favourite art space in town, and why?

Myanm/art, which is run by my friend Nathalie Johnston, who is also director of TS.1 and Pansodan.


Where is the best place to meet an artist?

At their studio.


Where is the best place to go for an artsy dinner in Myanmar / Yangon?

Pansuriya on Bogalayzay Street because you are surrounded by local art, both past and present.


Which bar is the art community’s favourite?

I would love to say that it was my very first restaurant on the jetty in Yangon called Port Autonomy. But, in reality, artists just love any beer station or tea shop. Later, they go to Hyper on Bogalayzay Street or Winstar in Sanchaung Street.


When is the best time to have an art trip to Myanmar / Yangon? 

Anytime between November to February when the weather is at its best.



Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply