The 1st of February 2023 marks the second anniversary of military dictatorship in Myanmar. Since the coup, people have suffered under the repressive military rule in a collapsed state. They have experienced daily violation of rights, war crimes and crimes against humanity, murder, sexual violence, and torture. By December 2022, the United Nations estimated that there were 1.5 million displaced people; 34,000 destroyed homes; villages burned to the ground; a looming food crisis; and 140,000 Rohingya in de facto internment camps while others suffer deprivation and discrimination rooted in their lack of citizenship. In addition to the trauma inflicted in people, the military coup has “crippled Myanmar’s economy”, as millions have lost their incomes, the national currency has plummeted, and prices have surged.
And despite it all, people have continued to fight for justice. Since the early days of the military coup, people’s response against the military has been unapologetic: pot-banging, ribbon wearing, being silent, joining the civil disobedience movement, clasping hands during peaceful protests, making opposition art works in multiple forms, or raising the three-finger salute. These are just a fraction of the many acts of civil disobedience despite the collective terror suffered. Differently from what has been happening in the past, a nation-wide revolutionary project has started and it cuts across diverse age, socio-economic and identity groups, including an assertion of the rights of those who have been left at the margins ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities. The message is the same: Never give up!
Honoring this spirit of creativity and resilience, the two-part art exhibitions “Never Give Up: 2 Years into the Myanmar Coup” gather artworks of artists from Myanmar. Through poems, videos, photographs and paintings, they reflect on the ongoing challenges while stressing the centrality of human rights as well as their vision and hopes for a new just future for Myanmar.
Art Exhibition “Never Give Up: 2 Years into the Myanmar Coup” was launched with an event on 28 January 2023, 5.30-7.00 pm at SEA Junction, 4th floor, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC). The discussion with speakers as listed below will look back on the last two years in Myanmar and ahead to the future.
- Myanmar Artist
- Aung Zaw, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, The Irrawaddy
- Gwen Robinson, Editor-at-large, Nikkei Asian Review and Past President at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT)
- Phil Robertson, Deputy Director, Asia Division, Human Rights Watch
Photo credit: Lattapol Jirapathomsakul and Kelly Khin