Suu Kyi portrait replaced in St Hugh’s

The college said it has been sent to a “secure location”

The Swan can exclusively reveal that a portrait of St Hugh’s College alumna and Myanmar State Counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi, has been removed and replaced from the entrance of Main Building.

The portrait was taken down this morning (Thursday) and replaced with a painting by Japanese artist Yoshihiro Takada.

According to a college news release, Takada’s “generous gift” was presented to Professor Roy Westbrook and Professor John Morris earlier this month after Takada spent the summer working around the premises.

St Hugh’s College Communications Manager, Benjamin Jones, told The Swan that the Suu Kyi portrait had been moved to a “secure location” while Takada’s piece was to be displayed “for a period”.

However, some may question whether the replacement of the portrait, which has happened a few days before new students arrive at the college, may also coincide with recent political events in Myanmar.

In what the UN has described as “ethnic cleansing”, close to 500,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees have crossed the border to Bangladesh since August. The military claims this is due to an anti-terrorism operation.

Suu Kyi has disappointed leaders around the globe, with UK Foreign Office Minister Mark Field acknowledging that whilst the situation is complicated, it is “very largely the fault of the security forces” and is an “unacceptable tragedy”.

As a recently democratised state, Myanmar’s constitution still wields substantial power to the military.

However, it is Suu Kyi’s public denial of events, given her outspoken past, for which she has received substantial criticism.

The Swan has contacted St Hugh’s to ask whether the State Counsellor’s portrait will be displayed in college in the future.

Alex Yeandle

Theo Davies-Lewis

The new painting being set up. Source: The Editors
The portrait of Suu Kyi seen in Main Building. Source: artuk.org