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Myanmar's contemporary artists confront painful past

Amid echoes of the past, renewed crackdown constrains free expression

"In Isolation" by artist San Minn, featuring a scale model of Yangon's Insein Prison, where he spent time in the 1970s. (Photo by Ben Dunant)

YANGON -- "People can expect a lot from art. Artists cannot make peace, but we can reflect on our history. This can help us understand each other," said Burmese painter and performance artist Htein Lin.

As monsoon rains battered Yangon, the 51-year-old artist was overseeing the final preparations for a new group exhibition called Seven Decades at the Secretariat, a sprawling, Victorian-era structure that was once the seat of the British colonial administration.

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