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[Interview 2/2] HTEIN LIN—Art and Art Practice that Deepen Our Maturity as Human Beings

2017/10/06 10:00

HTEIN LIN—Art and Art Practice that Deepen Our Maturity as Human Beings

On July 13, a week after the "SUNSHOWER: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now" exhibition (July 5–October 23, 2017) had its illustrious opening, Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo passed away under state surveillance; his freedom having been robbed from him until his death. The next day, we interviewed Burmese artist Htein Lin, also an expressive person who, more than anything, had shared Liu Xiabo's experience of being wrongly jailed as a political prisoner. Htein Lin had immediately expressed his condolences on social media.

Despite the inescapable sense of injustice, it was their defiance against such absurdities that generated unique artistic expressions and articulations. Just as the Nobel Prize acceptance speech that Liu gave at the end of his long imprisonment moved the world, the art and practice that Htein Lin began before his imprisonment is more significant through his experience of surviving injustice. Viewers who stand before his works are overwhelmed at their power and depth which embody his strength. Now, his homeland is beginning to head down the path toward democracy, a notion he once considered only attainable through armed struggle. As he bears keen witness to yet more socio-political change, Htein Lin steadily continues to work on his art.


Interview:Kida Sayuri (Associate Curator, The National Art Center, Tokyo)

Postscript (Jan. 26. 2018): Our page has moved.
We have consolidated both Parts 1 and 2 of this interview as "HTEIN LIN——Freedom Gained in a 9-square foot cell" and republished it on the Japan Foundation Asia Center's official website.