Through the example of Bagyi Aung Soe, Myanmar’s leader of modern art in the twentieth century, this essay examines the potential of Śāntiniketan’s pentatonic pedagogical program embodying Rabindranath Tagore’s universalist and humanist vision of an autonomous modernity in revitalizing the prevailing unilateral and nation-centric narrative of modern Southeast Asian art. It brings into focus the program’s keystones on the modern, art and the artist, which have been pivotal in discoursing on the Burmese alumnus of the ashram-turned-university, and explores how the same might be applicable to fellow artists in Myanmar and the region.


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