By Syahira Asyiqin
KUALA LUMPUR, June 4 – Early this year the world received the devastating news of the Myanmar military taking over the administration of the country. More than 800 citizens, including children had their lives taken under the occupation and thousands more had been arrested, beaten and abused by the military. The news became increasingly widespread as videos online had shown protesters in Myanmar were under attack by the militia. The world has since stood in solidarity with the affected people of Myanmar.
Now, four months have passed since the coup invaded and stormed the lives of its people in Myanmar and there has been a surge of strict legislation implemented by the authority to subdue the protesters, which includes access to information on the Internet which have been severely restricted.
However, since the heart-wrenching incident happened, a way for them to showcase their anger and frustration in fighting for their rights to freedom is to showcase their iconic artworks under the art community of the Raise Three Fingers (RTF). This group was created by Myanmarese artists and creatives to bring the international art community together and draw attention to the ongoing human rights and humanitarian concerns created by the military coup.
In a statement issued recently by the RTF, amongst the many allies in parts of the world that are in support of the protesters for their fight for democracy, Malaysian artists are among the most powerful voices in support of the Myanmar people’s demand for liberty and peace.
Since March, Malaysian artists have illustrated inspiring artwork depicting the three-fingered salute which represents “solidarity for democracy, defiance against tyranny, and the fight for freedom”. Amongst the Malaysian artists that are standing up against the regime, is a political cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Haque, also known as Zunar.
While speaking against the occupation happening in Myanmar, Zunar stated “the suffering and crying that is happening in Myanmar – I can feel it too. Because we are human and we are the same. My three-fingered artwork is something that comes from my heart. And if I had three hearts, I would definitely draw with all three of them.”
Zunar’s contribution in solidarity of the protesters was by leading an online exhibition titled ‘Human Rights in My Country’ at the ASEAN Human Rights Cartoon Exhibition Solidarity Gallery. This exhibition was to showcase art pieces created by artists from five ASEAN countries to highlight the need of remaining unified despite borders and putting an end to the bloodshed against the people of Myanmar.
Currently, RTF has curated approximately 1,500 masterpieces from 45 nations throughout the world, including Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United States, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, France, Italy, and others.
With the suffering that has continued to haunt the people of Myanmar, artists can further pursue their support in the protesters’ fight for liberation and against tyranny by spreading awareness of the three-fingered salute using any online or offline platform that they desire. Creators can use digital platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, Twitter, and YouTube to share their efforts and works to demonstrate their unity.
Tag @raise3fingers and use the hashtags #ThreeFingers #FightWithArt #WhatsHappeninginMyanmar so that submissions can be featured on the Raise Three Fingers platforms, including the website www.threefingers.org.