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Artist to donate 16,000 NZD to Burmese refugee children

Nay Thwin
Mizzima News (www.mizzima.com)
January 28, 2008

A Burmese artist in exile will donate 16,000 New Zealand Dollars (NZD), which he raised from the sales of his paintings, to Burmese refugee children along the Thai-Burma border.

With the help of 'Children on the Edge', a humanitarian group for children, Saw Khu Sae, an ethnic Karen artist, held a solo exhibition of his paintings at New Zealand's Wellington town from January 15 to 30.

Saw Khu Sae said he will donate all the proceedings from the exhibition, -- 16,000 NZD, for the cause of education of Burmese refugees along the Thai-Burma border.

The artist, who is a refugee himself, said he is delighted to be able to donate for the refugee children the money earned from his skills adding that it has been his dream.

"Initially we began with small exhibitions at the 'Borderline' gallery. And people came to see some of the paintings. And then later we had a chance to discuss about the possibilities of raising funds for refugee children with paintings. And we agreed, as there are artists to do the paintings and the money will be useful for children," Saw Khu Sae explained to Mizzima about how the gallery was established on the border.

The Borderline gallery was established on the Thai-Burmese border town of Mae Sot, with the aim of facilitating artists to hold exhibitions, where visitors can view the paintings.

Saw Khu Sae, who arrived on the Thai-Burmese border in 2000, is currently working as an arts teacher in schools opened for migrant workers and their children. He is also planning to start a training course in painting, called 'Art Central' in June.

"The most popular painting in New Zealand is that of a mother and daughter crossing a bridge in the refugee camp. It is liked by Burmese refugees who have been resettled in New Zealand because they remember their old place, where they lived," Saw Khu Sae said.

The painting, called 'Bridge to Market' depicts an old woman with her daughter crossing a bamboo bridge to go to the market from the Ohn Phyan refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border.

Shelly Mansfield of 'Children on the Edge,' who organized the exhibition, said the exhibition titled 'Display Burma' is aimed to highlight the voiceless people of Burma, who are given no rights to display their talents.

The exhibition includes paintings that depict Internally Displaced People, who are forced to hide in the jungles in fear of attacks by Burmese troops, Burmese migrant workers in Thailand, who are forced to leave their country for economic reasons and the living conditions of Burmese refugees in camps

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Strategy failure

October 23, 2007 - The brutal crackdown is underway and the brave souls who played a part in the resistance in Burma are now paying for their courage with beatings, interrogation and torture. Many in the West will go back to their rhetoric, denouncing the Burmese military junta, making statements and asking the generals for a peaceful transition to democracy.

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