Hurricane Gallery will open “Burmese Daze,” its first exhibition of the season Saturday, June 29, with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Featured will be a dozen paintings by two brothers from Burma (also known as Myanmar).

San Naing and Naing Lay live and work in Rhakine (Arakan) state. They would like nothing better than to come to Maine to be present in person, said gallery owner Robert Macdonald, who lives in Burma for a part of each yea. Although Burma's government seems to be creeping toward democracy, openness and freedom, these young artists and Burmese citizens, culturally Burmese in every way, are Muslim and, as Muslims, cannot get passports. In fact, they have to get special permission even to leave Rhakine state. Their forebears were among the thousands of Muslims mostly from Bengal (now Bangladesh) imported into Burma by the British well over 100 years ago; Macdonald recommends George Orwell's novel “Burmese Days” for a devastating picture of colonial Burma in the waning days of the British Raj.

Little hint of the tensions that exist in Burma today can be found in the works of these artists. For years Naing Lay, the younger of the two, painted only lotuses and San Naing painted only Buddhist monks and nuns, often shown walking away. The paintings on view include some of these as well as stylized paintings of beautiful women and Buddha heads, together with non-objective works.

Nine Midcoast artists, as well as Macdonald, also will be exhibiting their work in this show. They include two sculptors that could not be more different: Naya Clifford works in wood, smoothing and burnishing the material so as only to suggest the image she has in mind; Donnie Johnson fishes out of Rockland, finds driftwood, and never fools with the shapes of his finds. Lois Hill, whose colored pencil drawings were so arresting last year, has stepped into new territory with a series of "string paintings"; Matt O'Donnell offers a couple of watercolor nudes; Alan Hynd makes virtuosic pen and ink statements about tragic events of the day; Roz Welsh surprises with her canvases of sewn fabric, shaped into reliefs; Pam Cabanas paints sea and shore in shades of black and white; and Elaine Niemi from Finntown continues to recreate scenes of her life in unpremeditated art.

Hurricane Gallery is located at 175 Quarry Road, off Depot Street and just minutes from Route 1. Gallery hours are anytime day or night; call ahead at 832-4062 or 701-7477.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or