Htein Lin's painting and performance art explores the restrictions he has faced as an artist in Burma, where he pioneered performance art in 1996. Imprisoned from 1998 to 2004 as political prisoner number 00235, he struggled to keep painting in a twelve-by-nine-foot cell, constrained by space and the absence of canvas, paint, brushes and permission to paint.
Forced to improvise with cotton prison uniforms, soap bars, cigarette lighters, syringes smuggled from the prison hospital, and the back of his tin plate, he was nonetheless able to create the art he wanted, unconstrained by time, censorship or the market, developing a unique style of printing and painting. Over two hundred of his jail paintings are now deposited with the Institute of Social History in Amsterdam. Since his release, he has the space to paint, but still has had to cope with Burma's unfamiliarity with contemporary art, and the constraints of a government unfamiliar with and deeply suspicious of anything which breaks out of the pattern of pagoda sunsets and upsets the bullock cart.
The talk was organized by AAA and held on 26 April 2007. Htein Lin discusses his experiences as an artist in and out of prison in Burma, and demonstrates the techniques he has developed.
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