Skip to Main Content

Hand Castings with Htein Lin

Sunday, April 7, 2019

12 pm - 6 pm EDT

Still from U Htein Lin—Mr. Bright and Shiny. Image courtesy of Vanessa Smith.

FREE with museum admission
FREE for Members
1905 Building

Join the artist Htein Lin and members of the Buffalo Burmese community as they add to the exhibition Htein Lin: A Show of Hands and discuss their stories of political imprisonment, offering an opportunity to process the past by sharing their stories with others.

About the Artist

Htein Lin is a Burmese artist (painting, installation, performance) and has also been a comedian and actor. He spent almost seven years in jail (1998–2004) for political reasons. It was here where he developed his artistic practice, using items available to him like bowls and cigarette lighters in the absence of brushes to make paintings and monoprints on cotton prison uniforms. The first international exhibition of these works took place at Asia House, London, in 2007 and was featured prominently in The New York Times. Lin moved back to Burma in July 2013, organizing a Burmese arts festival there, and exhibiting internationally.

In recent years Lin has expanded his practice to include three-dimensional work and video. He meditates for several hours daily and a major inspiration for his work is Buddhism whose themes, stories, and philosophy he incorporates in his art. Human rights, including freedom of speech and discrimination, political reforms, and setbacks to Burma’s democratization process, are also a focus of his work.

Lin’s recent and ongoing work includes A Show of Hands, in which he collects the plaster casts of arms of former political prisoners together with their stories; it was premiered at his solo exhibition The Storyteller at the Goethe Institute in Yangon in 2015. Skirting the Issue explores the underlying discriminatory attitudes towards women in Burmese society, and was exhibited at Chancery Lane Gallery, Hong Kong, in January 2019.   

In 2019, a new work, Recently Departed, in which a household of charred wood symbolizes the loss and migration of populations across Burma, was included in Concept Context Contestation, a major touring exhibition of South East Asian conceptual art at the Secretariat in Rangoon, the colonial building in which independence leader Aung San was assassinated in 1947, and where, in 2018, Htein Lin organized a significant exhibition of Burmese artists reflecting on Seven Decades since independence.