On exhibit Saturday, September 23 to 29, 2023
Ken Seiling Waterloo Region Museum

The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic minority from Myanmar. The United Nations has described the Rohingya as “the world’s most persecuted minority”. For decades, successive governments of Myanmar have committed grave human rights violations and atrocity crimes against this community. Canada has recognised that these crimes against the Rohingya constitute genocide.

However, the Rohingya story is not simply one of victimhood. Even in the face of adversity in both Myanmar and Bangladesh, members of the community produce art and express creativity as a form of resistance against their oppressors.

Jasbaa – meaning passion in Rohingya - is at the heart of this exhibit. Artists by nature are passionate, and the Rohingya people are passionate about maintaining their traditions, language, and song under the harshest of conditions.

Showcasing paintings (roñgor akaa), photography (sóbí), poetry (sher/kabitha), and embroidery (hátór fúl túla) produced by Rohingya community members living in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Canada, Jasbaa is a celebration of Rohingya resilience, dignity, and self-expression.

The Jasbaa exhibit and events program were developed by Mayyu (Rahmat) Ali as part of his graduate internship, hosted by the Ken Seiling Waterloo Region Museum, through the Balsillie School of International Affairs at University of Waterloo. The Art Garden Rohingya offered consultation about the art selection and helped connect individual artists with this project.

Read the full media release.
Film cover showing man with text Rohingya: The Resistance


A 28-minute documentary film featuring the stories of four Rohingya refugees who are resisting against their oppressors in the refugee camps, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. 

Thank You To Our Contributors

Artists who contributed their works to exhibit

  • Dil Ankis
  • Yusra Noor
  • Sofaira
  • Azimul Hasson
  • Abdullah @ Khin Maung Thein
  • Sahat Zia Hero
  • Anamul Hasan
  • Enayet Khan
  • Yasmin Ullah
  • Pacifist Farooq
  • Raza Meen Din

Interviewees for documentary film

  • Shahida
  • Jamalida Begum
  • Mohammed Salim
  • Amir Hussein

Volunteers and performers (Saturday and Sunday)

  • Abdul Salam
  • Samira Begum
  • Azida Begum
  • Habib Ullah 
  • Sayeedul Arafat
  • Shanas Akther


About the Curator

Mayyu (Rahmat) Ali

Mayyu (Rahmat) Ali

Mayyu is a Rohingya poet, author, humanitarian worker and human rights activist. His Op-eds have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, TIME, the Guardians, Finanical Times, The Independent, Al-Jazeera, etc.

He used to work for ACF, an International humanitarian organization in Rakhine State, Myanmar. In the refugee camps, Cox’s Bazar, he used to work for Amnesty International and Fortify Rights documenting and reporting the systematic persecutions of Myanmar’s government against Rohingya people in Myanmar.

Beyond campus, Mayyu is dedicated in educating and empowering his Rohingya community who are counted as the world’s most persecuted people. In 2018, he founded Community Rebuilding Centre, a Rohingya community-based organization that focuses on formal education, youth empowerment and community awareness in the refugee camps, Bangladesh. He is co-founder and editor at Art Garden Rohingya, an online community website that revives Rohingya culture, art and literature and raises and empowers poets, writers and artists in the Rohingya community.

Through his graduate studies, he is interested to research on the destruction and disappearance of languages and cultures in migration and displacement across the world.

Learn more about Mayyu.

Learn, Share, Support - Add Your Voice! 

Through this exhibit, Rohingya voices have been shared. Those voices are calling for humanitarian assistance, protection, and justice. But how can you help? 

Here are three simple ways: 

LEARN more about the Rohingya: 

 SHARE what you learn with: 

  • Family members and friends 
  • Members of your school, workplace, community group, or organization 
  • Local Members of Parliament (MPs) and local Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) 

 SUPPORT local and international organizations: 

This project is funded by the Balsillie School of International Affairs, the International Migration Research Centre and the Faculty of Arts at the University of Waterloo.
BSIA logo
IMRC logo
University of Waterloo logo

We are pleased to share that the Rohingya Centre of Canada will host the Jasbaa exhibit on Saturday, November 25 and Sunday, November 26,  2023.

Rohingya Centre of Canada Logo