Every year Myanmar faces serious problems with flooding and this year Mon State was particularly badly hit by flooding and landslides, incidents that killed many people.
It was with this in mind that the Myanmar Cartoonist Association organized and sponsored a cartoon exhibition under the title ‘Upstream and Headwind’ for flood relief fundraising in Yangon and Mandalay this week.
The cartoon exhibition in Yangon was held in front of Mahabandoola Square and the cartoonists sold T-shirts with their cartoons drawn on them as per the request made by the buyers.
Cartoonist Win Aung said they hold the cartoon exhibition every year for fund raising for flood relief as Myanmar faces these natural disasters every year.
“We have held these exhibitions for three consecutive years. The flood situation this year is so severe and worse than those in the past. We found many were killed this year. And then we decided to hold this cartoon exhibition immediately and organized it within just three days,” he said.
In this exhibition most of the cartoons portray the flood and inundation of villages and towns and also the cartoonists simultaneously held a fund raising exhibition for flood relief work.
Myanmar Cartoonists Association Vice-Chairman Cartoonist Win Aung said, “There are cartoons which educate about danger of flooding, criticizing and satire on the flood, in this exhibition. And another one is selling T-shirts with cartoons drawn on them for fund raising for the flood relief work. We sell these T-shirts at 5,000 kyats each and then our cartoonists drew cartoons on these T-shirts as the souvenirs for our buyers. We raised funds for flood relief work in this way.”
In this fund raising cartoon exhibition the cartoonists from entire country joined and showed their cartoons.
Most of the eminent cartoonists in Myanmar such as Phaung Phaung, Karlu (Pyi), Aung Than, Myay Zar, Aung Thu, Sann Linn, Pyit Taing Htaung, Maung Maung Aye, October Aung Gyi, Cartoon Shwe Min Thar, Htein Thar, Htin Linn Kyaw, Arkar Moe, Ko Shwe Htoo (Pyi), Shwe La Min, Soe Gyi (Paungde), Wa Lone, Au Pi Kyae, Nyi Pu Che, Cartoon Maung Bachi, Cartoon Win Pe (Ahphyauk), Thar Htwe and among others joined and participated in this flood relief fund raising exhibition.
Than Myint, a local resident of Thuwunna and who bought a T-shirt, said, “Mainly for flood relief donations. The cartoonists donated their art and labour for the flood relief work. We always visit these exhibitions and giver our support to their noble work by buying their art work from them. The vehicles also give their free service for transporting relief supplies to these flood-hit areas. Not only this Yangon exhibition, I visited all cartoon exhibitions as I love and adore these cartoonists and their work. So we took part and supported their donation with their art in fund raising work.”
He displayed a T-shirt with a cartoon on it.
“We had joy and elation. We have grown up with these cartoon characters since our early childhood. In the past we could rarely see these cartoonists. Now we can make friends with these cartoonists on Facebook for the love of them,” cartoon lover Than Myint added.
In Yangon exhibition, Cartoon Poe Zar donated 700,000 kyats from the sale of his painting, and Yaung Ni Oo Company donated 2 million kyats in sponsoring the exhibition.
At the same time in Mandalay, the cartoon exhibition with the same title ‘Upstream and Headwind’ was held at the corner of 26th Street and 68th Street and it was joined by many cartoonists.
Cartoon Win Aung, Vice-Chairman of Myanmar Cartoonists Association, alleged government officials could do better to prepare people in how to respond to flooding. “If they had done this work responsibly there would not have been such huge losses in these flood disasters.”
Apart from the flooding during the 2019 monsoon season in Mon State, there was a devasting landslide on August 9 near Thae Phyu Kone village which killed 70 people after they were buried by mud and boulders.
After these cartoon exhibitions in Yangon and Mandalay, the organizers got together to decide how to allot the proceed to the flood victims in Tanintharyi Region and Mon State.