About the Project

Golden Shadows – Voices of Two Exiled Artists is a digital art exhibition displaying Yadanar Win and Kolatt’s artwork. It was curated by Manuela Coldesina and Thibault Maillard and presented as their graduation project for the Gen A 2022 program. The Gen A (short for: Generation Asia) fellowship program of Asia Society Switzerland aims to bring together young professionals and advanced students interested in Asia and Asia-related issues, facilitating their engagement with a variety of experts and topics related to these fields. This year, the Gen A graduation project focuses on highlighting Asia-related issues that are either underrepresented or lesser known in Switzerland, springing from the discussions with experts and peers on inputs or topics received during the program.
As part of the Gen A 2022 fellows’ cohort, Manuela and Thibault decided to work on setting up a digital exhibition presenting the work of Burmese artists and activists Yadanar and Kolatt. Shining a light on the ongoing situation in the artists’ home country of Myanmar, from which they fled in late 2021 after the military coup. The exhibition project wants to be a channel for Yadanar and Kolatt to present their work in the context of Asia Society Switzerland’s STATE OF ASIA conference, functioning as a platform to bring their art, their voices and their message to Switzerland: we are alive, we are still fighting, don’t forget us.

Why a Digital Exhibition?

Unable to exhibit their work in Myanmar due to the political situation, Yadanar and Kolatt are currently based in France and in the process of settling their stay there. However, their ability to travel freely across borders is restricted due to their refugee status. As their artistic practice reflects these experiences, the vehicle of a digital exhibition resonates with the subjects of their work.
Digital exhibitions also constitute opportunities for wider access to the arts and facilitate their incorporation in different contexts, bypassing physical barriers and non-physical limitations, such as those constituted by (inter)national borders. Therefore, the use of the online platform Kunstmatrix, through their art.spaces virtual exhibition tool, helped the curators to overcome these challenges and limitations, facilitating the remote collaboration with the artists – connecting from France, Geneva and Zurich.
An important part of Yadanar and Kolatt's work consists of live performance art. They unfortunately had to leave parts of their other artworks, such as paintings, behind when they fled their home country of Myanmar after the coup d’état in 2021. Golden Shadows focuses on photographic artworks from three live art performances, all of which have been performed jointly by the artists in 2021-2022. The project brings together performances from different places in one virtual space, bridging the space between artworks.

Learn more about Yadanar and Kolatt in Meet the Artists

Manuela Coldesina

Manuela is an independent researcher and curator, as well as a Gen A fellow who recently became a part of the Asia Society Switzerland team. She has a background in Japanese Studies, Art History, and Critical Heritage and Museum Studies, holding both a B.A. from University of Zurich and an M.A. from Leiden University. Recipient of the Ceschin-Pilone Fellowship Grant, she worked on a research and exhibition project about Japanese picture postcards for the MUSEC (Museo delle Culture) in Lugano. She also participated in the digital exhibition project open-museum.ch during the 2020 #VersusVirus hackaton. Golden Shadows allows her to combine her digital and non-digital curatorial experiences.

Thibault Maillard

Thibault Maillard holds a bachelor’s degree in Choreography from the SNDO Amsterdam and a Master in Chinese Studies from the University of Geneva. While working as a freelance artist, he created multiple dance pieces and organized numerous artistic events. He is a founding member of the STAMM STUDIO , a residency space for artists, located in Porrentruy. He recently redirected his career towards full-stack web development and Digital Humanities. In this project, he happily combines his knowledge and interests for the arts, Asia and programming.