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Banned in Burma: Painting Under Censorship

One of the first exhibitions of its kind, featuring works of leading Burmese artists who endured and resisted censorship under the military regime.

For 50 years Burmese painters labored under strict state censorship. This exhibition will feature paintings produced under military governments from 1962 to 2011 and in the aftermath of the March 2011 transition to civilian rule. Visitors will enjoy a rare glimpse into the cultural community and mindset of artists operating under the mechanics of censorship. For many painters, this will be the first international exhibition of their work.

At a time when contemporary Burmese art is poised to follow China, Vietnam and other developing Asian countries into the international art market, it is important to understand the straightjacket of state control that existed until very recently. International art institutions such as the Guggenheim, the Singapore Art Museum, and the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum are already collecting Burmese art, but there has yet to be a major exhibition in Hong Kong showcasing established and emerging voices in the Burmese art scene.

Paintings that drew the attention of the Censorship Board will be displayed alongside paintings that escaped scrutiny through use of euphemisms or abstraction. Censorship in Burma often centered on color and format rather than ideology, and painters who used more modern, semi-abstract and abstract depictions faced great challenges as the Board favored more traditional and realist works. These paintings reflect Burma's changing landscape and society, and offer a unique opportunity to view the artistic traditions of a once-closed land.


Later Event: March 15
Down Under, Up Here