Colourful Billboards of once upon a time

By History of Burma 


Yangon in 1980s is filled with colourful billboards. The billboards were a canvas for various artists to show off their skills. As computer designing was not widely used yet, what we do digitally now; designing words, drawings were all done by hand then. Film billboards were particular spaces where you can see this culture. Movie name, actor/actress name and their pictures; everything was done by hand by the commissioned artist. Be it foreign movies or Burmese movies, the artists were able to drawn characters on billboards as real as those in the movie. 


Vendor signs were also in the trend of hand drawn signs culture. The signs were adorned with cartoons and “Ka-note” (a style of architecture design found in Myanmar). The culture was popular till early 2000s. Vehicle license plates were also a part of the culture with many artists on the side of the road with their sample hand drawn license plates for the customers to see. Metal plates and wooden planks were used to draw the license plates and vendor signs. The famous cartoon characters of the time such as Toot-Pi, Thamain-Paw-Thot were widely included in the signs to entice and entertain potential customers. Many industries used hand drawn billboards to advertise their products. As the business and convenience of computer design and vinyl soared, the hand drawn billboards faded away. To reminisce Yangon of the past is to reminisce the era of billboard artists and their art making the streets colorful. 





History of Burma aka Robert runs an active Facebook page where he share historical images, videos and information he persistently researched on the internet to the public. He is passionate about History of Myanmar and wants to open a small photography museum one day, showcasing the past via old photographs.