For talented student from Burma, beauty is in eye of the beholder

Though she is eyeing a career in photography or filmmaking, Kyawt Thiri Nyunt ’17 wants to be known as a story teller.

The Interdisciplinary Studies major has been one since she was started drawing on the walls on her home in Myanmar as a child. The story telling continues today through her portfolio and Instagram, which includes photos she snapped last year as a Semester Abroad student in Italy traveling throughout Europe. In addition, she has written a screenplay that is being turned into a short fictional film she directed.

“I just want to be making a lot of art and telling a lot of stories, especially about Burma. Dominican has given me the tools and resources I can use to achieve that goal,” Kyawt (pronounced Jah) says. “I love making documentary films about issues I care about. Even at Dominican, every corner I walked into and every moment I talk to someone, there is always a story you can tell others.”

Kyawt’s story evolved from Burma where she graduated from high school at 15 and was selected into a pre-collegiate program founded by two Yale graduates. There she met two Stanford grads who were visiting the program. They lived near Dominican, and suggested that the University would be an excellent fit for Kyawt.

Dominican gave her the opportunity to expand her horizons and hone her photography and filmmaking skills, while widening her perspective of the world.

“When I got to Dominican, I took classes with professors, such as Lynn Sondag, John Duvall, and Robin McCloskey, and learned about all the connections they have brought and all the possibilities that my creativity and pursuit of art has opened to me,” Kyawt says. “Creativity is a trend that does not die.  Creativity is not limited to the arts, but can be incorporated in different kinds of subjects.”

Kyawt values the experience she had with her professors in the School of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, as they helped her open her mind on how to perceive art. That fueled her decision last year to study abroad in Italy. She had watched films by Italian filmmakers in classes and had sang Italian classical music compositions as a member of the A Cappella Workshop and Chorale at Dominican.

Italy was a perfect place for her to broaden her creativity.

“I grew up looking at Leonardo da Vinci paintings in books. If I had a chance to see it in person why not take it?” Kyawt says.

Kyawt, who worked in the Global Education Office helping to create promotional content, also visited France, Germany, Austria and Greece during her trip. She figures she snapped at least a thousand photos, but thought only about 10 met her high standards for her portfolio. She also wrote her screenplay through the eyes of a middle-age man she randomly picked out of the crowd in Milan; he looked lost and appeared to be trying to find his way in society.

“I just want to tell my stories, whether they are fictional or documentaries,” Kyawt says. “I enjoy bringing different kinds of emotions to people.”


February 21, 2017