Htein Lin is a Burmese artist working in painting, installation and performance, as well as a writer, and has also been a comedian and actor. Born in 1966 in Ingapu, Ayeyarwady Division, he was active in the 1988 student movement at Rangoon University where he studied law. After going underground after the military takeover he was arrested in 1998 and jailed on spurious accusations of opposition activity, he spent almost seven years in jail (1998-2004). During this time he developed his artistic practice, using items available to him like bowls and cigarette lighters in the absence of brushes to make paintings and monoprints on the cotton prison uniform.

Born on 31 December, 1966 in Ingapu, Ayeyarwady Region, Myanmar

Bachelor of Law, Yangon University

Solo Exhibitions
2016 The Storyteller, Solo show (including premiere of ‘A Show of Hands), curated by Nathalie Johnston Goethe Villa, Yangon July-August
2016 Happyland (paintings and video performance) Tasneem Gallery, Barcelona, July-September
2014 Beyond the Itch, solo show, River Gallery 2, Yangon March
2014 Private group exhibition at Art Basel 2014 Miami, (in association with Pall Mall Art Advisors and Quintessentially), December
2011 Solo Show, North Wall Arts Centre, Oxford, June

Group Exhibitions
2016 Gangaw Village group show, Yangon, January 2016
2016 Additions to A Show of Hands (multimedia project, including public participation)
2016 Asian Performing Arts Market, Setouchi Triennale 2016, Takamatsu/Seto inland Sea, Japan, July 2016
2015 Group Show at 20th anniversary of River Gallery, Yangon, Myanmar, December 2015
2015 Htein Lin’s 1999 prison soapblock carving (in the permanent collection of the ICRC museum) is included with pieces by inter alia Yves Klein, Ai Wei Wei, Magritte, Rauschenberg, and Dan Flavin in the exhibition ‘Experiments with Trust: Gandhi and images of nonviolence’ at ICRC Museum, Geneva curated by Josef Helfenstein, now Director, Kunstmuseum Basel and at the time, the Director of the Menil Collection, Houston, where the exhibition was first shown in 2014).
2015 Kamarado, Group show by the Clark House Initiative, September-November
2015 Stedelijk Museum Project Space, Amsterdam
2014 Dhaka Art Summit, February ‘A Show of Hands’ (performance courtesy of Samdani Foundation), paintings shown by Tasneem Gallery
2014 Rosary Bowl/Mastery of the Mind (installation) and paintings included in group show of Myanmar contemporary art at ‘Pagodas, Longyis and Nats’ at the taatliche Museum Funf Kontinente (Munich), Germany (September 2014- January 2016)
2014 Performance ‘Give us back our land’, opening of exhibition ‘Blank Mind’ by Soe Naing, A-hla Thit gallery, Yangon, October
2014 Capturing Only Merit, installation in group show, Peoples Park, Yangon, December
2013 Htein Lin and Ernesto Leal, El Fragmento Eliminado, Tasneem Gallery, Barcelona, (April- June)
2012 Video Lounge, India Art fair, courtesy Tasneem Gallery
2012 Installation: The Triple Gem, Singapore Fringe Festival, February
2012 Asia House group show, London, July-August
2012 Workshops and performances in Rangoon and Mandalay, Burma August
2012 Shanghai Contemporary Art fair (courtesy Tasneem gallery), September
2012 Visiting artist, Charleston College, South Carolina, USA, October
2012 Prison paintings, video (Rises and Passes Away) and performance, Freedom
Film festival, Copenhagen, October
2012 Clark House Mumbai at ISCP New York, USA, November
2012 ICU Jest, collateral exhibition (installation and performance) by the Clark House Initiative at the 1st Indian Biennale, Kochi India, December 2012-February 2013
2011 Burmese Group Show, Karin Weber Gallery, Hong Kong, April
2011 Brighton Festival, UK May
2011 Prison paintings, Chimay, Belgium, May/June
2011 TAMA Tupada Performance Art Festival, Philippines, November,
2011 Exhibition of prison paintings for Human Rights Day, Prague, December
2010 Installation: The Scale of Justice, Singapore Fringe Festival, January
2010 Let Me out of Hell, Burmese Theatre Workshop, London and Marseille
2010 Thavibu Gallery (with artist Chaw Ei Thein), Bangkok, November-December
2010 ArtAsia Miami, Karin Weber Gallery, December
2010 Regular performer, ArtEvict, London
2009 Beyond Burma II Group show, Menier Chocolate Factory, London, UK 9-14 Feb
2009 Outside In: Alternative Narratives in Contemporary Art, University Museum and Art Gallery, Hong Kong 9 June – 19 July 2009 (group show including prison paintings)
2009 Group show at Karin Weber gallery, Hong Kong, July 2009 (tbc)
2009 Missing Asia, Observing Europe, Tasneem Gallery, Barcelona, Spain, November
2009 January 2010 (solo show)
2008 Beyond Burma’ Group show, Chocolate Factory, London 11-23 Feb
2008 Twenty Years On, Suwunnabhumi Gallery, Chiang Mai 13-18 March
2008 ‘The Cell’, Karin Weber Gallery , Hong Kong, 27 March-13 April
2008 ‘Out of Burma’, Quest Gallery, Bath, 13 May-5 July (solo show)
2008 ‘Recycled’, Coningsby Gallery, London, 17-23 August (solo show)
2008 ‘Recovering Lives’, School of Art Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, Aug-Oct (group show)
2008 ‘Crossings, Contemporary Asian Art’ Olson Gallery, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL, USA 28 August – 3 October (group show)
2008 Museum of Resistance, Deportation, the War, Rights and Freedom, Museo del Carcere Le Nuove, Turin, Italy 24 October – 12 November (solo show - exhibition of prison paintings)
2007 Paintings completed secretly while in prison on cotton cloth using a variety of media and techniques were exhibited in a solo show ‘Burma: Inside Out’ at Asia House, London July-Oct 2007 (see for media coverage including Economist, Int. Herald Tribune/NY Times, Sunday Times, BBC, CNN, C4 News).
2007 Venice Biennale 2007 collateral event: Migration Addicts group show (curated by DDM warehouse Shanghai)
2007 Asian Attitudes, Poznan National Museum, Poland, July 2007 (group show) Curatorial projects
2016 Curator, 2nd My Yangon My Home Arts Festival, Myanmar 2016
2016 Curator, Peace Festival, various sites in Myanmar, November 2016 (tbc)
2015 Co-curator, “My Yangon My Home “ Yangon Art and Heritage Festival, a festival
of community art projects to explore heritage, culture and art in Yangon
2010 Curator, Burmese Arts Festival, Free Word Centre, London, October

2016 Nomination for entry into Sovereign Art Prize 2016
2013 Nominated artist, Absolut Art Award
2011 Nominated artist, Signature Art Prize. Asia-Pacific Breweries Foundation/Singapore Art Museum

Other projects
2016 Speaker, Living Arts in Post-Conflict Contexts: Practices, Partnerships & Possibilities, Forum organized by Cambodian Living Arts, Phnom Penh, March
2016 Two documentaries about Htein Lin currently being made by filmmakers in Switzerland and USA
2015 Autobiography: ‘Ma-Pa – the ABSDF Northern Branch Affair’, Yangon (published in Burmese - see ‘When I was a Lousy Millionaire’ (2012))
2015 Collected writings on art criticism (in Burmese), Yangon
2014 Panellist and performance, Contemporary Dialogues festival organised by Fluxkit, Pun and projects and Institut Francais Yangon, October
2013 Art of Transition conference, Yangon, March
2013 Returned to Yangon, and commenced A Show of Hands project
2013 Advisory Committee, Artraker Fund, 2013, and judge for 1st award
2011 ‘When I was a Lousy Millionaire’ (translated extract from forthcoming autobiographical account of experiences of detention in the jungle)
2008 Featured artist, Himal magazine
2007 Artist in Residence, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 2006/7
2007 Advisory Committee, INDEX on Censorship
2007 Judge, 2015 Yangon Film School-Goethe Institut Documentary Competition
2007 Judge, Murals, Koestler Trust Prison Art prize (UK) 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
2007 Meditation discipline guide for warders and prisoners, Insein Jail, December
2013 Juror, Yangon Human Rights film festival, June 2014; group performance at opening
2013 Selection Panellist for the first Artventure/Article 19 ‘Freedom to Create’ prize,
2008 Invited to submit works to Artists’ Pension Trust – Beijing collection
2008 Consultant, ‘This Prison Where I Live’ (about Burmese actor and political prisoner Zargana), Rex Entertainment Films, 2010
2008 Participated in NYU seminar: Imagining the Future: New Worlds, New Arts,New Models, co-curators Anna Deavere Smith and Gideon Lester, Abu Dhabi,April
2011 Established to showcase the best of Burmese writing and art(in Burmese) live and online, in Burma and in London
2011 Adviser to Writers and Scholars Education Trust on arts capacity strengthening in Burma, 2012/2013, including convenor of the ‘Art in Transition’ seminar in Yangon, March 2013
2011 Founding member of Burmese Theatre Workshop, a London-based drama co-operative performing original plays in English (2008/9)
2011 Coach to young Burmese actors and comedians. Judge for awards tograduates of documentary and short film courses in Burma
2011 Regular contributor on the arts to Sone-Nan-Tha magazine (2013-4)
2011 Contributes articles, radio dramas, poetry, short stories and illustrations for magazines in Burma, Burmese vernacular radio stations and international media
2011 Awareness raising work with Amnesty and other human rights groups
2011 Educational work with primary and secondary schools, exploring themes of capture and imprisonment, and using printing techniques with found objects