On April 6th, the 2018 World Wood Day - Myanmar celebration successfully took place at the Mandalay City Hall. The event was co-organized by Mandalay Region Forest Products Merchants Association (MRFPMA) and the International Wood Culture Society (IWCS).
The opening ceremony began with a ribbon cutting by the Minister of Mandalay Region Government for Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, Mr. Myo Thit, Mayor of Mandalay, Mr. Ye Lwin, Managing Director of Myanmar Timber Enterprise, Mr. Saw John Shwe Ba, Director of Forest Department HQ, Mr. Kyaw Zaw, Director of Mandalay Region Forest Department, Mr. Myint Thein, Chairman of Mandalay Region Forest Products Merchants Association, Mr. Ye Min Thu, and Secretary General of the International Wood Culture Society, Ms. Su Jinling.
During the ceremony, local and international music groups gave wonderful traditional performances. Mr. Saw John Shwe Ba, Managing Director of Myanmar Timber Enterprise on behalf of the Union Minister for Natural Resources & Environmental Conservation, and Mr. Ye Min Thu, Chairman of Mandalay Region Forest Products Merchants Association delivered opening speeches. Ms. Su Jinling, Secretary General of the International Wood Culture Society, introduced WWD core ideas and expressed deep appreciation for the great support provided by the co-host, supporters and all volunteers.
Memorial saplings of Eugenia gifted by the International Wood Culture Society were planted at the small part at City Hall. Eugenia is a symbol of success in Myanmar and will also be a symbol of friendship and goodwill of the event for a greener future.
Myanmar Woodcarving Competition
The Myanmar Woodcarving Competition was held in the City Hall of Mandalay from April 6 - 8. 26 local woodcarvers were invited to the competition to carve a square panel to interpret the theme “Life.” The designs were as diverse as the rich culture of Myanmar, varying from nature, village life, festivals and personal experiences.
Mr. Kyaw Swar won first place with a design inspired by the Water Festival in Myanmar. He will participate in the 2019 World Wood Day Celebration with other carvers from around the world.
International Wood & Bamboo Carving Demonstration
During the event, two experienced Chinese master woodcarvers, Mr. Duan Sixing and Mr. He Zebing, exhibited their extraordinary works, demonstrated traditional Chinese wood and bamboo carving techniques, and shared their carving experiences. The audience was intrigued by their skills and asked them to make small souvenirs. Their attendance and participation enhanced the communication and cultural exchange of carving between the two countries.
Toys have been used by teachers as concrete objects to teach subjects such as mechanics and architecture. Wooden toys have a long history around the world and have many advantages including durability, safety and being environmentally friendly. Dozens of wooden toys were donated by a Chinese wooden toy company for the local children to enjoy. These colorful and elegant toys attracted children and adults alike to join in and play for a while.
The woodturning demonstration was held in City Hall, Mandalay, Myanmar on 6 - 8 April 2018. A Chinese traditional wooden lathe was presented by the intangible cultural heritage bearer Master Li Xuemin. He made some whistles and small gourds which were given out as souvenirs to the audience. Some mini-lathes were set up for children to experience the fun of woodturning under the guidance of Mr. Su Jinyong. Both children and adults alike were interested in creating and painting their own work.
Folk Art Workshop
The Folk Art Workshop exhibited and held demonstrations of Myanmar traditional woodcarving of handicrafts, bamboo crafts, drums, lacquer wares, marionettes, birdhouses, bamboo bicycles and Thanaka (a natural cosmetic paste made from Thanaka wood). The international folk artists also brought Taishun puppets to demonstrate and offered chopsticks-making workshop for the audience to make their own chopsticks. These activities presented the uniqueness of Myanamar wood culture and appreciation of the culture, beauty and craftsmanship of wood. A few folk artists also performed alongside musicians at a local girls’ training school as part of the celebration.
During the three-day World Wood Day Myanmar event, promoting Myanmar traditional performance art was one of the main focus. Myanmar traditional instrumental performances, traditional Myanmar opera, and dashing traditional cultural dances were entertaining at the event. Mezme of Mexico and Aaninka of Ivory Coast made a lasting impression with their wooden instruments and energetic dances that brought out smiles and excitement from the locals. In addition, magic tricks and pop music were also part of this lively WWD celebration in Mandalay, Myanmar. Musical groups also performed at a local girls’ training school and the students greatly enjoyed the interactions.
The closing ceremony was held at the Mandalay City Hall in the afternoon of April 8. Musicians, woodcarvers, Chinese folk artists, local wooden artifact makers and furniture makers all contributed in making the programs fascinating during the three-day event. Traditional wooden music shows engaged a large group to join in and all enjoyed a wonderful moment. 26 woodcarvers from Yangon, Bagan, Luang Prabang and Mandalay were awarded for their participation in the woodcarving competition.