Htein Lin: Burma Inside Out
July 26, 2007 12:26 PM   Subscribe

Burmese artist Htein Lin was imprisoned by his country's military government from 1998 to 2004 on charges of planning opposition protests. In prison he was forced to improvise to continue painting, using paints smuggled in by guards and white cotton prison uniforms as canvases. In place of brushes he used his fingers, cigarette lighters, syringes, pieces of netting, dinner plates, and blocks of soap. Burma Inside Out (PDF), an exhibition of some of his prison work, will be on display at the Asia House Gallery in London from July 27 to October 13.
posted by homunculus (10 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
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.

Talk about seeing the bright side.
posted by the_royal_we at 12:35 PM on July 26, 2007


kinda 'meh' about his talent. cool story though.
posted by nihlton at 12:40 PM on July 26, 2007


Favorited on reading the post before looking at the links. amazing story. wow. His art reminds me a bit of Indonesian batik.

"He thanked his jailers for providing him with the opportunity and inspiration to develop his art, and to quit smoking and drinking."

Him smiling in front of one of his works.

What an elegant man.
posted by nickyskye at 1:20 PM on July 26, 2007


Wow, beautiful work. Very interesting contrast in subjects. The prison life images are intense and scary but still full of invention and a love for stylized line work. Some of the more abstact pieces like "Mozaic 1" and "Underwater" are very pretty and fanciful and show the same love for style.

Thanks homonculus, this brightened up my day.
posted by doctor_negative at 1:47 PM on July 26, 2007


Burmese artist Htein Lin was imprisoned by his country's military government from 1998 to 2004 on charges of planning opposition protests. In prison he was forced to improvise to continue painting, using paints smuggled in by guards and white cotton prison uniforms as canvases.

He should have got a porno mag or something instead. Great story and effort, shame about the results.
posted by fire&wings at 2:42 PM on July 26, 2007


this is one of those cases where context makes work that
i'd otherwise think of as "not bad" into something utterly fascinating. For me it's that much more interesting to see a proficient artist with a unique experience to share than a stylistically genius artist with nothing to say.
posted by es_de_bah at 3:06 PM on July 26, 2007


this brightened up my day.
posted by doctor_negative


Now that makes me happy.
posted by homunculus at 3:09 PM on July 26, 2007


Very cool. Thank you for posting this!
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:52 PM on July 26, 2007




Thanks for that article and pic, nickyskye.
posted by homunculus at 12:19 AM on July 28, 2007


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