Cocktail: Dawn of Romance
Inspired by: San Minn's Age of Full Bloom (1979) as seen at the National Gallery Singapore
This painting was produced after San Minn’s release from Insein Prison, where he was interned between 1974 and 1978 for participation in civil resistance at Rangoon University against the perceived mistreatment by the government of a Burmese diplomat’s funeral. The work embodies his optimistic outlook toward artistic experimentation and renewed joy in painting. A bouquet of pink roses blooms from a young woman’s neck, around which hangs a pendant that reads “LOVE.” When Age of Full Bloom was submitted for an exhibition in Yangon in 1979, the censorship board rejected it and stamped “not allowed to show” on the canvas. The officials deemed the headless figure and the stars on her blouse—which the artist painted for aesthetic reasons—as a reflection of his negative views of the state’s Socialist ideology. The stamps have faded over time, but are still visible.
The Dawn of Romance cocktail is a revitalised interpretation of a spirit-forward Negroni that draws inspiration from this painting, echoing San Minn's embracing of life and its opportunities. A hand-painted sun on the glass represents a beacon of sunshine, even on one's darkest days.
*This cocktail contains milk and nuts.