Htein Lin was born in Burma in 1966 and has lived in London since 2006. He spent six and a half years as a political prisoner from 1998-2004. Although not officially allowed to paint, he secretly managed to complete several hundred paintings on white cotton prison uniforms. He could pay the warders to smuggle paint into the jail, but it was too risky to keep a brush in the cell. So he used whatever objects he could obtain to make a mark - plates, cigarette lighters, nets, syringes, shards of glass or x-rays, razor blades, or just fingers and hands â€“ and developed a monoprint technique.
Htein Lin continues to use this technique in his recent paintings, which draw on his Theravada Buddhist faith, Burmese traditions and symbols, including his early career as a comedian in Burmese satirical ‘anyeint’ performances and recent events such as the Saffron Revolution and Nargis cyclone.
Htein Lin pioneered performance art in Burma in 1996 and continued to perform for fellow inmates while in prison. Following his release, his Rangoon street performance ‘Mobile Art Gallery/Mobile Market’ in May 2005 led to 5 more days of interrogation. He has also performed in the UK, Thailand, France, Norway, Finland, at the Venice Biennale in 2007, and at festivals in Finland, Malaysia, Philippines and Japan. His performances draw on his life as an artist, and seek to raise awareness of the political situation in Burma.
Solo and group shows in Rangoon, Burma 1996, 1997, 2005, 2006
"Burma: Inside Out", Asia House, London, July-Oct 2007 (prison paintings)
"Asian Attitudes" Group show, Poznan National Museum, Poland, July 2007
"Beyond Burma" Group show, Chocolate Factory, London Feb 2008
"20 Years On", Suwunnabhumi Gallery, Chiang Mai, March 2008
"The Cell", Karin Weber Gallery , Hong Kong, March 2008
"Out Of Burma", Quest Gallery, Bath, May-July 2008
"Crossings" (Group show), Olson Gallery, Northern Illinois Univ, DeKalb, Aug-Oct 2008
"00235" Carcere le Nuove, Turin, October 2008 (prison paintings)
Two of Htein Lin’s paintings have been purchased for the new US Embassy in Yangon. Others are in private collections in Belgium, Netherlands, Hong Kong, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, US and UK.