Well-known contemporary Myanmar artists have joined together with MyJustice to encourage ordinary people to reflect on what justice means and what role they play in seeking it. The Everyday Justice exhibition will launch in the newly renovated Tourist Burma building on Friday 15 November, after which it will be free and open to the public for two weeks.
The exhibition is part of an event to mark the achievements of MyJustice and its partners since the programme began in 2015. Funded by the European Union and implemented by the British Council, MyJustice promotes access to justice in Myanmar by raising awareness of people’s legal rights, improving justice services through a network of justice centres and paralegals, and strengthens both community efforts to resolve disputes and justice policy reforms. MyJustice delivers activities in six Regions/States and across 64 townships in Myanmar, in cooperation with over 50 local and international non-governmental organisations and in close liaison with the government’s Coordinating Body for Justice Sector Affairs and the Union Legal Aid Board. To date, MyJustice support has led to 21,000 people receiving free legal assistance, 3,333 mediators trained in how to resolve disputes fairly, 123,000 people reached through legal awareness efforts at the community level and over 23 million reached through the Pyaw Kya Mal (Let’s Talk) campaign.
MyJustice research confirms that few people in Myanmar trust the formal justice system to respond to their needs or feel able to claim their rights. While some seek justice where they can find it, often within their local communities, many remain silent. Changing this relationship between people and the system requires reflecting on people’s experiences of seeking justice and visualising alternatives and possibilities. The art works by leading Myanmar artists, including KO Z, BRANG LI, HTEIN LIN, EMILY PHYO, MAUNG YU PY and KAUNG SU explore a number of justice-related themes, including its connection to identity, freedom and history. The art is curated by MYANM/ART, a Yangon based gallery and the event is designed by Bridge.
The event will also showcase stories and films about people who have helped others in their communities to find justice. These include a paralegal from Braveheart, who helped an elderly woman access disability services, or a lawyer from Mawlamyaing who took his client’s case to the Supreme Court and won his freedom.
“Public debate on these issues is important to seek a wide range of ideas on how to ensure more accessible justice for all”, said Caitlin Reiger, MyJustice Team Leader. “We want to bring lawyers, government, civil society, artists together in an open conversation.”
The EU Ambassador to Myanmar, H.E. Kristian Schmidt noted that “Art must be allowed to challenge us, as free cultural expression can help societies come to terms with issues of injustice. The EU’s support to MyJustice’s work and this exhibition are a new way of promoting more justice in Myanmar.”
The event will be opened by the Ambassador of the European Union to Myanmar, H.E. Mr Kristian Schmidt. Zenn Kyi, famous Myanmar movie star and the brand ambassador of the Pyaw Kya Mal campaign will also attend the event.