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Thweep Rittinaphakorn on “Unseen Burma: Early Photography 1862–1962”

June 18, 2023 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm


Sun 18 Jun | 3.00pm | National Gallery Singapore, Supreme Court Wing, Level 5, Glass Room

“Unseen Burma: Early Photography 1862–1962” presents a curated set of rare images from his personal collection that brings readers through different facets of Burmese culture and heritage. Rittinaphakorn uses 1962—the year of the Burmese coup d’etat which overthrew the civilian government under prime minister U Nu—as the starting point and looks back to the colonial era in the late 1800s. In this talk by the author himself, Rittinaphakorn will share the research process behind his book and highlight selected images, including those of King Thibaw and Queen Suphyalat, Burma’s last royal couple. This will be followed by a conversation between the author and Peter Lee where they will share more about their individual collections and collecting practices.

About the Speakers

Thweep Rittinaphakorn (AKE) is an independent scholar whose work focuses mainly on textiles and arts history of mainland Southeast Asia. He is a textiles curator of the Siam Society’s collection and a regular speaker for the Siam Society, Thai Textiles Society and the Bangkok National Museum Volunteer group. His research on Shan elites’ costumes and photographs and Burmese tapestry silk known as Luntaya Acheik was presented at the annual conference of the Association of Asian Studies in 2014 and 2016.

He also spoke at the 13th International Burma Studies Conference of Northern Illinois University Burma Studies Center in 2018, the 7th and 8th ASEAN Traditional Textiles Symposium in 2019 and 2022, and at the Irrawaddy Literary Festival, Mandalay in 2019. His research articles on these subjects were published in Textiles Asia Journal as well as Arts of Asia magazine. He recently launched his book, “Unseen Burma: Early Photography 1862–1962”, a compendium of old photographs accompanied with well-researched information.
Peter Lee is an independent researcher, and the Honorary Curator of the NUS Baba House – a historical house museum managed by the National University of Singapore. He has produced “Junk to Jewels – The Things that Peranakans Value” (2008), co-curated “Sarong Kebaya” (2011) and later published a book on the subject which was shortlisted for the Singapore History Prize (2018) and “Singapore, Sarong Kebaya and Style” (2016). He was a guest curator of “Port Cities: Multicultural Emporiums of Asia, 1500-1900” (2016) and “Amek Gambar: Peranakans and Photography” (2018-2019).
He also co-authored “The Straits Chinese House” (1998 and 2006) and hosted “The Mark of Empire” (2020). The exhibition “Inherited and Salvaged: Family Portraits” (2013) from the NUS Museum Straits Chinese Collection comprised largely of portrait paintings he had assembled. He contributed a chapter to the new iteration of the Cambridge History of Southeast Asia and is preparing for two exhibitions in Singapore for 2024 and 2026.


June 18, 2023
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Event Category:


National Gallery Singapore
1 St Andrew's Rd, #01 – 01,
Singapore, 178957 Singapore
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