Maung Tun Hla
Maung Htun Hla painted a range of portraits and landscapes, in both oils and watercolours. His portraits contain single figures in local dress, usually in a standing position. Through these portraits, Hla created a record of ethnic figures representing everyday life in Burma. This was the first time this kind of portraiture was seen in Burma as previously only wealthy or privileged individuals would have been painted as individuals. The two portraits on display here at The South Asia Collection are typical examples of Hla’s work.
Hla’s life is a fascinating tale of an artist working in the early twentieth century. Born in a township near Yangon (formerly Rangoon), Hla had a monastic education, of which a significant part was artistic, particularly in relation to traditional Buddhist styles of painting.