Fighting back against the conservative ideals of Burmese society that he grew up with, painter Richie Nath uses art to create more inclusive—and fantastical—realities. On his canvases, queer characters, unmistakably Southeast Asian or South Asian, fight, pose, and flirt with one another, dressed in fine garments, traditional costumes or, in many cases, nothing at all. His scenes owe as much to sacred Hindu texts and the art of Burmese miniatures as they do to fashion illustration and runway shows. We spoke to Richie about the freedom of creating new worlds and the challenges of creating queer art under an oppressive regime.
“I created this queer world because I wanted to see something explicit and raw, because I’ve been made to hide and hate myself for so long.”