• Po Po, 'Wealth', 2023, 23-karat gold bar, oil on canvas, wood, approximately 91.5 x 98 x 5.5 cm
  • Po Po, 'Strength', 2021, oil on canvas, engraved wood, approximately 157.5 x 145 x 2.8 cm
  • Po Po, 'Spiritual', 2023, oil on canvas, engraved wood, approximately 232.5 x 138 x 8 cm
  • Po Po, Reflection, 2021, oil on canvas, approximately 115 x 152.3 x 8 cm
  • Po Po, Property, 2022, oil on canvas, approximately 212.5 x 151.4 x 2.5 cm
  • Po Po, Obstruction, 2020, oil on canvas, approximately 92 x 92 x 4.7 cm
  • Po Po, Movement, 2022, oil on canvas, approximately 236 x 216 x 7 cm
  • Po Po, Mankind, 2022, oil on canvas, approximately 183.2 x 106.3 x 2.8 cm
  • Po Po, Harvest, 2021, oil on canvas, approximately 210 x 232.2 x 3 cm
  • Po Po, Challenge, 2020, oil on canvas, approximately 91.5 x 183.5 x 3 cm
  • Po Po, Balance, 2022, oil on canvas, approximately 256 x 129.5 x 3.3 cm
  • Po Po, Ending, 2023, oil on canvas, wood, approximately 183.5 x 92 x 8.5 cm

Po Po

Ascending Primeval Codes

27 April – 2 June 2024

Ames Yavuz is proud to present Ascending Primeval Codes, Myanmar-artist Po Po’s third solo exhibition with the gallery.

A landmark figure in the history of art in Asia, Po Po is a visionary artist who brought something truly new in concept and execution to an isolated country’s latent art scene in the 1980s. Resisting easy categorisation and definition, Po Po has charted and composed his own formalistic language, deeply rooted in Buddhist precepts and developed in a culture that has faced over six decades of political struggle, isolation and censorship.

Ascending Primeval Codes continues the artist’s complex study and playful exploration of semiotics, which first began in the 1970s. The exhibition – first conceptualised in 1988 and realised over the past three decades – presents a collection of mixed media paintings that takes cue from signs, symbols and ancient written language that the artist has reconstructed and deconstructed.

Po Po’s extensive research spans across ancient stone inscriptions from Pyu, Bagan, Inwa and Pinya (from the 3rd to 13th centuries) to today, mapping out the extensive topographic breadth of communication signs and symbols of ancient civilisations to contemporary public signage. A continuation of his previous 2020 exhibition, Primeval Codes, he distils primordial and fundamental tenets of life – its desires, power, spiritualities – into powerful abstractions of his mixed media paintings rendered in rich tones of red and black.


One of Myanmar’s pioneering contemporary artists, Po Po’s (b. 1957) conceptual practice weaves between painting, photography, installation and performance. His works frame and challenge his country’s socio-political landscape through an idiosyncratic interpretation of his environment. Po Po was amongst the first Myanmar artist to exhibit abroad in the 1990s; and since showcased works across Asia-Pacific and Europe, including at MINIMALISM: SPACE. LIGHT. OBJECT., National Gallery Singapore (2018-19); Stop Peeping, Cement Fondu, Sydney, Australia (2019); SUNSHOWER: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now, Mori Art Museum, National Art Center, Tokyo, Japan (2017); and the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (2016).

Po Po’s work has been featured in publications such as SEA: Contemporary Art in Southeast Asia, edited by Ute Meta Bauer, Karin Oen, and Tan Boon Hui (2022); ArtReview Asia (“What to Make of Po Po?”, 2020); Today newspaper (2014, 2010); The Myanmar Times (2013), amongst others. His work is collected by the National Gallery of Singapore, Singapore Art Museum, Mori Art Museum, (Japan) and MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum (Thailand).