Than Kyaw Htay was born in 1978 in Sittwe, Rakhine State, Myanmar. He attended the State School of Fine Art, graduating in 2000.
He is inspired by the Pa-O people of the Shan States in the north-east of Myanmar. They are easily identifiable by the colorful turbans worn by both men and women. These paintings feature a figure or figures standing or squatting, sometimes looking slightly off-balance, which the artist says is an echo of the political instability of the country. They look out over a beautiful but empty countryside, which creates a feeling of isolation, another metaphor for the country as a whole.
Inspired by Van Gogh, Than Kyaw Htay gives his paintings texture and added depth by scratching a comb through the pigments, at times revealing the contrasting painting underneath. This technique helps to integrate the tones of the figures, clothes and landscape, giving the works an added dimension and energy.
He has taken part in numerous exhibitions in Yangon, including seven solo shows. In addition, his work has been shown in Hong Kong, Thailand, India, Canada, the US and France.