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Leading political activist shows his artistic side

Art lovers in Rangoon were treated to a solo exhibition by leading political activist Min Ko Naing on Wednesday

Fifteen paintings in watercolor and acrylic were on display to the public at Gallery 65 on Yawmingyi road.

Min Ko Naing spent nearly 20 years behind bars for leading student protests in the 1988 uprising. He said the art featured in his first exhibition was heavily influenced by his time in prison.

“These are interpretations of my thirst for art, and my trapped imagination while I was in prison,” the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society leader said. “I was allowed to draw when I was close to being released and some of those drawings are featured here.”

Min Ko Naing’s paintings accompany the launch of the Burmese translation of a book by former Czech Republic president Vaclav Havel, called “The Pizh’Duks”, which was illustrated by Min Ko Naing.


The famous activist hails from an artistic background as his father, Thet Nyunt, was a well-known painter. Since he was released from prison in 2012, Min Ko Naing has written a book, several poems and songs.

But campaigning for democracy is still his number one priority.

“I paint whenever I have free time. At the moment, it is impossible for me to become a full-time artist. So let’s say I’m like a part-timer in this scene,” he said.


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