Myanmar/Burma: Censorship on art has relaxed, three artists say

20 March 2013

“While censorship of print media has ended, restrictions on the visual arts are still officially in place,” said visual artist Maung Khine Mar from Yangon to The Myanmar Times.

Maung Khine Mar, Aung Kyi Soe, Pe Nyunt Way. Photo of Soe: courtesy of Ellie Hannon.

“Censorship on art has relaxed quite a bit, but they still have a blinkered attitude towards any art that goes beyond Myanmar’s cultural norms, such as nude paintings. Artists who paint nudes are still questioned,” he told the newspaper.

Published on 18 March 2013, the article described how government censors had questioned Maung Khine Mar about one of his paintings, entitled ‘Alternate’, before it was exhibited to the public.

“Knots which bind artists soon untied”
The artist Pe Nyunt Way said paintings covering a wide range of themes have largely been uncensored in recent months, “except those that are thought to disrespect Myanmar tradition and culture”. “Hopefully, these knots which bind the artists will soon be untied,” he said.

Another Yangon-based artist, Aung Kyi Soe, was quoted as saying that “no boundary should be fixed to art”:
“Artists are pushing back against the boundaries of cultural norms,” he said, and mentioned an exhibition held in Yangon in January titled ‘Khin Maung Yin 100’ at which a nude painting was censored.

“I don’t think the painting was harmful to viewers. Censorship just restricts freedom,” Aung Kyi Soe said.

The Myanmar Times – 18 March 2013:
Evils of censorship linger in Myanmar’s visual arts
By Zon Pann Pwint

Burma News International – 25 January 2013:
Burma dissolves censorship board
The Burmese Parliament on Thursday officially dissolved the Press Scrutiny and Registration Division (PSRD), according to a report in state-run The New Light of Myanmar.

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