According to the World Policy Blog, Burmese artist Chaw Ei Thein has filed for political asylum in the United States. Ms. Thien’s visual and performing arts have challenged the dictatorship in her country, and she faced arrest at least once for a performance art piece that her government found objectionable (the Burmese–or Myanmar–leadership is not known for its sense of humor). Apparently, Ms. Thein has been in the United States for some time and has been receiving assistance from freeDimensional, an organization that helps exiled artists. You can view some of Ms. Thein’s art on her blog.
I’ve always felt that there is a connection between art and exile. Some of the earliest written literature (from ancient Sumer) are lamentations for destroyed cities. One of my favorite musicians is Enrico Macias, an Algerian Jew who was exiled from his country during the war of independence. On the boat ride to France, he wrote the song “Adieu mon pays” (Goodbye my country). And a recent book by Joseph Horowitz, Artists in Exile, explores how refugees from war and revolution have transformed the performing arts in American. So it seems Ms. Thein is in good company.