Artists worldwide #RaiseThreeFingers for Myanmar (Photos)

The three-finger salute rendered in bread art attributed to @Cathweth/Instagram, an illustration by Swedish artist Cap, and a painting by South Korean artist Kim Hwa Sun.
The three-finger salute rendered in bread art attributed to @Cathweth/Instagram, an illustration by Swedish artist Cap, and a painting by South Korean artist Kim Hwa Sun.

Artists around the world are coming together to raise awareness about the ongoing human rights abuses and humanitarian crises in Myanmar precipitated by the Feb. 1 military coup.

The protest movement’s emblematic three-finger salute has been reproduced in comics, murals, paintings, edible art and more by artists and creatives from nearly 50 countries for a campaign called Raise Three Fingers. So far more than 1,000 works have been submitted in various mediums and styles including one from Naw Susanna Hla Hla Soe, the provisional National Unity Government’s Minister of Women, Youth and Children Affairs.

“Art gives me a peaceful mind during difficult times. Whenever I go somewhere, even when I was a refugee and an IDP, I bring all of my art materials with me so I can paint. I taught IDP children how to paint as well. Without art, I wouldn’t be able to overcome this difficult situation,” Soe said.

Soe painted three salutes rising above barbed wire overgrown with flowers.

The project launched mid-March to amplify the symbol adopted from the Hunger Games film franchise by pro-democracy movements in Thailand, Hong Kong and Myanmar. The “campaign hub” project was founded by Art for Freedom MM, Latt Thone Chaung (“Raise Three Fingers,” in Burmese) and The Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation of the United Kingdom.

Muralists have put the iconic image onto walls, abstract paintings, pop art and more. Some have even made baked goods and latte art out of the three-finger-salute. It’s all been spread through social media using hashtags such as #RaiseThreeFingers and archived online at

Since the Feb. 1 coup d’etat, artists have played a key role in opposing the military coup in the streets through guerilla installations in Yangon opposition hotbed Sanchaung, by stenciling junta leader Min Aung Hlaing’s face on pavements and erecting tributes to the movement’s martyrs. Online, their contributions on social media have helped keep the issue before the eyeballs of a distracted world.

They’ve also paid a terrible price. Just last week, three poets; K Za Win, Kyi Lin Aye and Khet Thi; died at the hands of Myanmar’s security forces.

Nathalie Johnston, director and founder of Yangon’s Myanm/art art space, said that what’s happening in Myanmar goes beyond its borders and is a concern for global democracy.

“Art in global protest movements is inherently linked with expression. Artists can create solidarity and propel political and social movements forward. By visualizing intent for a free and equal society, they can channel the power of people through pictures, symbols, words and any number of mediums,” Johnston said.

Myanmar civil society is under heavy assault by the military junta. Journalists, activists, politicians, artists and poets have been arbitrarily arrested, tortured, beaten, and sometimes killed since Feb. 1, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners Burma. More than 30 artists have been arrested and detained.

@raise3fingersfor Myanmar ##threefingers ##whatshappeninginmyanmar ##fyp ##art♬ ghost town voice memo (full version out now) – chloe george


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