Min Wae Aung was born in 1960 in Danubyu, a river port city in the Irrawaddy Delta. His father hauled goods for a living. Min Wae Aung spent much of his childhood playing at a nearby monastery, a second home of sorts, where he befriended novices and helped the monks with their tasks.
Today, Min Wae Aung—one of the country's most celebrated contemporary artists—is best known for his stylized depictions of Buddhist monks in vivid, burnt-orange robes on striking gold backgrounds. Faces are rarely shown, because Min Wae Aung likes to emphasize the monks' movement, and he says their anonymity helps convey how they are "leaving humanity behind" and going to "a peaceful place, like Nirvana."