For close to 30 years, Burmese artists have found refuge in Thailand, escaping waves of turmoil at home, while using their art to keep the world’s eyes on Myanmar. Sudarat Musikawong delves into this history of the role artistic spaces, such as SEA Junction, have played in supporting Burmese art in exile. She interviews Jørn Middelborg of Thavibu Art Advisory, Tim Tint, an artist and curator, art historian Diana Zaw Win (pseudonym) and finally, Ko Aye Win from Rap Against Junta, learning more about the successive waves of Burmese artists who have continued to courageously push the boundaries of freedom of expression in Southeast Asia.
Listen to the podcast below or on Soundcloud.
Links to venues, organisations, artists and arts works mentioned in the podcast:
Women Out On the Streets for a New Burma
WTF Gallery and Cafe- Free Burma Events/ A Better World is Possible
Jim Thompson Art Center, Missing Links
Suvannabhumi Art Gallery-Chiangmai
Art i.e (Art in Effect Gallery)
Chaw Ei Thein, Richard Streitmatter-Tran and Aung Ko, September Sweetness, Singapore Biennale, 2008
Sawangwongse Yawnghwe, The Myanmar Peace Industrial Complex, Map III, 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT9), 2018
Myint Swe, Death Row at Insein Prison, 2003
Graffiti artist, Bart was not Here
Fear Age Man or Stone Age Man Instagram protest art 2021
Official Music Video, Blood by Rap Against Junta
Dechatorn “Hockhacker” Bamrungmuang, of Rap Against Dictatorship
Nas (Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones)
The late rapper and MP, Phyo Zeya Thaw
Official Lyrics Video, Star by Ma Thazin Nyunt Aung’
Middelborg, Jørn. (2021), Myanmar Political Art, (Bangkok: Thavibu Art Advisory).
Naziree, Shireen. (2009), Burma: The Quiet Violence, Political Paintings by Myint Swe, (Bangkok: Thavibu Gallery).
___. (2014), Off the Wall: Thu Myat and Wunna Aung, An Exhibition of Urban Art from Myanmar, (Bangkok: Thavibu Gallery).
Raise Three Fingers for Democracy – Myanmar.
Zaw Win, Diana. “My Own Words Beyond Trauma: On Myanmar Art During the Spring Revolution 2021,” Art & Market (31 July 2021):
___. (2021) “Balling Our Fists and Laughing Out Loud: Myanmar’s Spring 2021,” Unlirice Volume 00.
Project Lead Researcher and Interviewer: Sudarat Musikawong
Audiocast Editor: Sharmilla Ganesan
Interviewees: Jørn Middelborg, Tim Tint, Diana Zwa Win and Ko Aye Win of Rap Against Junta
Music credits: Blood, Rap Against Junta, Star, Ma Thazin Nyunt Aung, Inspiring Cinematic Ambient by Lexin Music
Special Thanks and Acknowledgements:
The many Burmese artists who struggle for democratic change, Lattapol Jirapathomsakul, Rosalia (Lia) Sciortino Sumaryono, Ko Aye Win , Tim Tint, Kathy Rowland, and Sharmilla Ganesan.
This audio production was produced as part of a project researching arts and culture in Southeast Asia, organised by ArtsEquator.com. The project is funded by the Swedish Arts Council. For more content produced under this pilot project, go here.
About the author(s)
Sudarat Musikawong is an associate professor at the Institute for Population and Social Research at Mahidol University in Thailand. She received her Ph.D. and MA in sociology from the University of California at Santa Cruz and her BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She positions her investigations within cultural-political sociology and ethnographic research. Her publications include with Malinee Khumsupa, “Notes on Camp Films in Authoritarian Thailand,” Southeast Asia Research Journal (2019). Her publications include “Gendered Casualties: Thai Memoirs in Activism,” Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism (2013); “Mourning State Celebrations: Amnesic Iterations of Political Violence in Thailand,” in Identities, Global Studies in Culture and Power (2010); “Between Celebration and Mourning,” in Toward a Sociology of the Trace, (University of Minnesota Press, 2010); “Art for October Thai Cold War State Violence in Trauma Art,” positions: east asia cultures critique, Volume 18, Number 1, Spring 2010.