Thursday, June 25, 2009

Iconic Obama artist unveils Suu Kyi image

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The artist behind the iconic image of Barack Obama above the word "HOPE" is now trying to do the same for Myanmar's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been put on trial by the junta.

Los Angeles artist Shepard Fairey depicted a beaming Aung San Suu Kyi with a dove above her heart on top of red rays of light. The phrase "FREEDOM TO LEAD" appears above.

"I created this portrait of Aung San Suu Kyi to raise awareness of her ongoing house arrest and the oppressive nature of the military regime ruling Burma," Fairey said, using Myanmar's earlier name.

Aung San Suu Kyi has spent 13 of the past 19 years in detention and is now being held in Yangon's notorious Insein Prison during her trial for a bizarre incident in which an American man swam to her home.

The Nobel Peace laureate faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

Prominent US human rights activist Jack Healey said he approached Fairey about making a portrait after seeing his role firing up young people to support Obama's presidential campaign last year.

"I thought he could create an iconic image and do internationally for her what he did nationally for the campaign," said Healey, head of the Human Rights Action Center.

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