Suzanne and Ruth are joined by Myanmar painter and artist Chuu Wai, who is currently in exile in Europe. Born and raised in Myanmar, Chuu Wai's artistic impulse found a new outlet after a sexual harassment encounter on the streets of Myanmar at the age of 18. Her work considers the many ways in which society controls and scrutinizes women more than men, the ways that women resist this and how this culture is evolving. Her paintings, which she sees as part of this evolution, have won more than 30 national and international exhibitions in London, Luxembourg, Hong Kong and Canberra. When the coup broke out in Myanmar in February 2021, Chuu Wai took to the streets to protest, and a number of protest artwork and creative initiatives placed her front and center of the resistance. But a visit from soldiers to her home was a moment of awakening in which Chuu Wai realized 'that the military can do anything to her and no one can stop them.' This realization led to her making the agonizing decision to leave the country. She has however continued to irk the military with viral protest works in Europe, resulting in threats to the life of her family in Myanmar. Here she talks about fulfilling her dream to live as an artist, then losing it all when the coup happened, her decision to flee to Europe, the pain and guilt of leaving her country and her family, and her determination in continuing to resist the military with her most recent artwork in Zurich, Switzerland.
The ah nah: Conversations with Myanmar podcast was born from a desire to bring into public consciousness the atrocities that are currently being committed in Myanmar (also known as Burma). Our goal is simply to keep the conversation going, and to let the people of Myanmar know that they have not been forgotten. You can continue to support the people of Myanmar by keeping this conversation going. You can subscribe to this podcast on all major podcasting apps, including Apple, Spotify and Acast. You can also follow us on all our social media pages, linked below. If you’d like to reach out, please email us or fill out this form to add your voice to the conversation (https://tinyurl.com/3ee7ssm9).
Song: Kabar Makyay Bu (Until the End of the World), was written and recorded by Naing Myanmar, it became the revolutionary anthem of the 1988 pro-democracy movement and could be heard once again all over Myanmar during the 2021 Coup. Naing Myanmar maintains that the song is no longer his, since the '88 uprising “it belongs to everyone”.
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*Special thanks to Chuu Wai and all those who continue to use their creative talents to bravely show their opposition to military rule. We are so grateful to Chuu Wai for adding her voice to the conversation. You can check out her incredible work here: www.chuuwai.com
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