Documenting Myanmar’s past, one post at a time

Kyaw Hein and Dwe – via Archival_Myanmar’s Instagram archives.
Kyaw Hein and Dwe – via Archival_Myanmar’s Instagram archives.

It’s just a month old, but a new Instagram account is doing its best to tap into the historical imagination and nostalgia of Myanmar’s social media-savvy youth — and it’s already got our attention.

Dubbed Archival_Myanmar, the account, about 650 followers strong and growing, is a blend of “Burmese vintage art, music, fashion and everything” curated by creator Min Thet San.

Min Thet told Coconuts Yangon that the collection began as a hobby but he decided to create an online space to share it after a conversation with a friend.

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World War II Allies Propaganda Poster in Burmese.

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“I started collecting by myself and started sharing on my private account’s Instagram stories. Then a friend from London told me to open a page so that everyone can see [them],” he said via chat.

His collection, not quite 40 posts yet, is an impressive review of Myanmar’s cinematic, literary, musical and political history from the early 1970s to the present day.

Among the posts, you’ll find music videos, propaganda posters from WWII and Myanmar’s military junta years, posters for rock bands, advertisements for Myanmar’s earliest films, an album cover of Myanmar’s revolutionary first rap group, and a pouting General Aung San during his training days in Japan.

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Omoda Monji (面田紋次)

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Acidic , Nitric , Black , Smoke

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Min Thet’s fascination with Myanmar’s past began with Min Min Latt, a famous singer in the 1970s, but is sustained, he says, by U Sann Aung, a famous photographer from Myanmar, who collects vintage videos of Myanmar on his YouTube channel.

“They inspire me to dig more and more [into] all this. I want to show everyone that we were so good at multimedia — the songs, the album covers, the art and everything. I want to create more awareness and community around Burmese culture,” he added.

Here’s hoping Min Thet’s efforts end up being someone else’s inspiration to keep bringing Myanmar’s history to a bigger audience.

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