Asia House is proud to present the first UK exhibition of Burmese artist Htein Lin. This powerful body of work was produced between 1998 and 2004, at a time when Htein Lin had been imprisoned by the Burmese/Myanmar military government, accused of planning opposition protests.
Already an established contemporary artist, as well as a comic actor and performance artist, he continued to paint secretly whilst in jail, using white cotton prison uniforms as a substitute for canvas and producing well over 230 works.
While he was able to arrange for paints to be smuggled in by supportive prison guards, brushes proved difficult to obtain, and dangerous to keep. So he improvised with a variety of materials, such as soap blocks, syringes, cigarette lighters, pieces of netting, plates and mugs, and his own body, developing innovative printing techniques.
The abstract and figurative images that resulted depict prison life, the memories, hopes, fears and dreams of prisoners, Buddhist faith, and memorable events spent behind bars, like the Millennium.
In November 2004, shortly before the end of his sentence, a purging of Myanmar Military Intelligence was followed by a review of many prisoners’ cases. The military government informed Htein Lin that the case against him was unproven, and he would be freed.
On his release he thanked his jailers for providing him with the opportunity and inspiration to develop his art, and to quit smoking and drinking. He immediately resumed his artistic career in Rangoon.
Asia House Gallery
63 New Cavendish Street
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Tel: 0044 20 7307 5454
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