Author: Yonina Andrea Foster, Ph.D.
Win Han, “glowing,” his Burmese name means. Brilliant is his ceramic artwork in “Sub; Marine” at Carnegie Art Center in the historic library built in 1903 with funds from the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. I didn’t know what I was going to see when I met my friend David Granville (Broadway to Buffalo) there.
Years ago David taught this immigrant young man, now 25 and an American citizen, how to drive. The underwater world from Han’s diving days in Burma, he told us, grew from PTSD and anger management issues. The creations became a meditation tool. Win is completing his third bachelors from Buffalo State, and found his healing and a career, in this medium. To a question of mine, he responded that his sister used to draw, but there are no other artists in his family.
Han’s under-the-sea world captures colors and sparkles of the place few of us see, except taken in photographs by those who go there. Some of Win’s pieces are kiln fired three times; his glazes and clays are his own recipes. The magnificence and strength portrayed in the clay is beauty and resilience in human spirit, and is exquisitely feminine. The titles, like “From Dust”, “To Dust”, or, “Nephesh” – Hebrew for spirit – forced me to breathe purposely to avoid passing out from the emotional power before me and what was coming up through me, my own responses of awe. Win, with his expansive smile, and muscle bound body, like a wrestler, captured the moment of the day as he walked with David’s partner from piece to piece, sharing, listening.
Upon leaving, with mugs carefully wrapped, I sat in the car, unable to drive away quickly, suspended in disbelief of what I had seen and felt, my own emotions swimming with the pieces I’d just experienced.
Win’s art may become a method to raise awareness toward efforts to save this underworld, constantly being lost by our human doings. Sooner than later I expect, The Albright Knox will have an exhibit of his works. Get thee to the Carnegie Art Center this week. Win’s opening is Friday, 6:00 to 9:00pm, the day before the show closes.
Location: 240 Goundry St. N Tonawanda 14120 | Phone (716) 694-4400