Publication Type: Blog
Countries: Myanmar
Authors: Jung Benetar
Funders: AHRC

This article is about the power of art and music in politics. The importance of artwork and music in social and political movements have been well studied at the global level. Jacqueline Adams presented the ways some scholars have examined art’s political power: actors use the medium of artistic expression for communicating with the larger society; art can help mobilize protest and raise consciousness; art is useful to movements because it keeps people active in and committed to a movement once they have already joined; art and music are important in generating resources, both financial resources and outside support for the movement; a movement’s music prolongs a movement’s impact after the movement is over by diffusing into the broader culture and changing popular mores and tastes. Finally, art can stir up emotions that are useful to movement in several of the above ways (Adams, 2002). But scholars and researchers have paid little attention to art and music in analyzing social and political movements in Myanmar. In this short article, the author briefly outlines how artworks and music have been integrated into political protest in the Chin State’s capital Hakha (within Myanmar) to give a clearer picture of the importance of taking artwork, poem and music into account when studying social and political movements in Myanmar.