Last week, we ran a post about Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour, who was barred from leaving Iran for being a conscientious objector, but still managed to get his play, "White Rabbit, Red Rabbit," around the world. In that spirit, we here at HuffPost Culture thought a profile of similarly powerful artists working against silence, censorship and oppression would be apropo.
From comedians (Zarganar) to artists (Ai Weiwei), these are artists who refuse to be silenced creatively in the face of oppression, injustice, and despotism. Their creative acts often come at a heavy price -- harassment; threats to family and friends; imprisonment as well as torture; or the inability to leave their native country. But they continue to create, in the shadows, in underground theaters and in prison cells.
In a recent interview, Win Maw, a Burmese singer and human rights activist imprisoned for writing songs that were in support of an opposition party, put it well: "every citizen has a responsibility [to bring about] democracy -- guitarists too. We must make our call and take a part in the revolution together to achieve what we want so our younger generations can enjoy its fruits in the future."
Click through our slideshow of 10 artists who fight power with art, and let us know who we missed in the comments.
Belarus Free Theatre
<a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/theatreblog/2010/dec/13/belarus-free-theatre" target="_hplink">The Belarus Free Theatre </a>was founded in 2005 as an artistic way of resisting censorship under Belarusian president Lukashenko. Playwrights Nikolai Khalezin and Natalya Kolyada believe in art as a means and way of subverting a repressive government. They were arrested after authorities found their private performance about state sanctioned disappearances. In the associated photo, performers from the Belarus Free Theatre rehearse their production of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20110418/us-theater-review-being-harold-pinter/" target="_hplink">'Being Harold Pinter'</a> in Sydney on January 6, 2009. Being Harold Pinter, part of the Sydney Festival, splices transcripts from Belarusian political prisoners together with scenes from Pinters's plays and extracts from his Nobel Prize speech. Established in 2005, Belarus Free Theatre is an underground theatre project set up specifically to produce uncensored work in response to Europe's last dictatorship. (Photo credit GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images)
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/virginia-moncrieff/jafar-panahi-i-am-iranian_b_783180.html" target="_hplink">Jafar Panahi</a> is an Iranian filmmaker. He was arrested along with his wife, daughter and 15 friends by the Iranian government over the content of his films. He was charged with committing propaganda against the Iranian government. Despite outside pressure, Panahi was sentenced to a six-year jail sentence and a 20 year ban on making or directing any films, giving any interviews and is unable to leave the country. His latest film, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/14/jafar-panahis-this-is-not-a-film_n_963266.html" target="_hplink">"This Is Not A Film,"</a> was smuggled out of Iran inside a flash drive hidden inside a birthday cake.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/11/artist-ai-weiwei_n_1586173.html" target="_hplink">Ai Weiwei</a>, is a Chinese artist and activist who is very critical of the Chinese government's stance on democracy and human rights. In April 2011, he was detained in China for three months and is currently barred from leaving Beijing. In the photograph, Ai Weiwei holds a copy of a government document informing him of the expiry of his bail term, in a park in Beijing on June 21, 2012. (Photo credit Ed Jones/AFP/GettyImages)
<a href="http://www.freezarganar.org/home.asp" target="_hplink">Zarganar is a Burmese comedian</a> who is a critic of the Burmese military government as well as a political prisoner. In 2006, he was banned from performing publicly or participating in entertainment work indefinitely. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/buddy-winston/free-zarganar_b_145619.html" target="_hplink">In 2008, he was sentenced to 59 years in prison. </a>However, he was freed in 2011 in a mass amnesty of political prisoners. In the associated photo, Myanmar's famous comedian Maung Thura, who is better known by his stage name 'Zarganar,' poses at Reporters Without Borders (RSF) headquarters on June 13, 2012 in Paris. (Photo credit FRED DUFOUR/AFP/GettyImages)
<a href="http://www.dvb.no/interview/win-maw-prison-became-my-studio/19953" target="_hplink">Win Maw</a>, a Burmese singer and human rights activist was arrested and imprisoned first in 1997-2003 for writing songs that were in support of Aung San Suu Kyi (from the opposition National League for Democracy). He was imprisoned again in 2008 under similar circumstances. Despite his prison sentence (he has since been released) he has been fighting for freedom of expression and in 2011 he recorded three new songs from prison. He also made a documentary film, <a href="http://burmavjmovie.com/" target="_hplink">'Burma VJ,'</a> for which he was sentenced to more time in prison. In the associated photo, Maw who was arrested during the 2007 Saffron Revolution, is welcomed by his colleagues as he arrives at Yangon airport after being released from prison Friday, Jan.13, 2012, in Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar freed many of its prominent political prisoners Friday in a long-awaited step toward national reconciliation that also has been a key condition set by Western nations for easing sanctions against the country. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/heidiminx/opinionopression-risking_b_641936.html" target="_hplink">Dhondup Wangchen</a> is a Tibetan filmmaker that is currently imprisoned by the PRC government on charges related to his documentary <a href="http://www.filmingfortibet.org/" target="_hplink">"Leaving Fear Behind."</a> Many human rights organizations have protested his imprisonment and <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/china-must-release-tibetan-filmmaker-20100107" target="_hplink">Amnesty International named him a prisoner of conscience</a>. His documentary was made up of footage from interviews he conducted with Tibetan people about their views on the Dalai Lama and the Chinese Government leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It premiered on the opening day of the Olympics. In this photo, protesters of 'Students for a Free Tibet: Japan' shout slogans during a demonstration to demand the release of arrested Tibetan movie director Dhondup Wangchen (poster) in front of the Chinese embassy in Tokyo on August 1, 2009. (Photo credit TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images)
Dr. Kamal al-Labwani
<a href="http://www.freedomtocreate.com/dr-kamal-al-labwani" target="_hplink">Dr. Kamal al-Labwani</a> is a Syrian doctor, painter and human rights activist. He was sentenced to jail after his painting<a href="http://www.freedomtocreate.com/dr-kamal-al-labwani" target="_hplink"> "incited foreign aggression against Syria that insulted the Syrian president."</a> His paintings reflect on his experience in prison and on the<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/19/syria-lifts-emergency-laws_n_851047.html" target="_hplink"> Emergency Laws</a> that have been enforced in Syria for the last 40 years. In this photo Syrian doctor and artist Kamal al-Labwani, one of the Syrian opposition leaders, poses as he participates in a protest which denounced the killing of Syrian children by Russian arms, in front of Le Louvre museum on June 12, 2012 in Paris (PIERRE VERDY/AFP/GettyImages).
<a href="http://www.freedomtocreate.com/aron-atabek" target="_hplink">Aron Atabek</a> is a creative writer and poet from Kazakhstan. He was imprisoned for 18 years after he was accused of mass disorder whilst protesting against the demolition of a shanty-town. His book, 'Nazarbayev's Regime and Revolution' is a collection of poetry and prose that has been published online since his arrest and imprisonment. His works are highly critical of President Nursultan Nazarbayev and his policies.
Lapiro de Mbanga
<a href="http://www.rnw.nl/english/article/arrested-a-song-lapiro-de-mbanga" target="_hplink">Lapiro de Mbanga</a> is a singer from Cameroon who was sentenced to three years in prison for a song he wrote criticizing President Paul Biya for attempting to change the constitution in 2007 to extend his term in power. Despite Mbanga's imprisonment, he has been awarded with the <a href="http://www.freedomtocreate.com/lapiro-de-mbanga" target="_hplink">Freedom to Create Award in 2009</a>, a special prize at the <a href="http://www.freemuse.org/sw37634.asp" target="_hplink">Canal d'Or in 2010</a>, and the <a href="http://mp3.mondomix.com/liberons-lapiro" target="_hplink">french music site Mondomix</a> has a free CD of his music up on their website.
<a href="http://ayat-algormezi.blogspot.com/" target="_hplink">Ayat Al-Gormezi </a>is a 20 year old poet and student at the Faculty of Teachers in Bahrain. She was arrested in 2011 because she recited a poem that criticized government policy in Pearl Square. While in jail she suffered harassment, abuse, intimidation, and threats of violence and rape. She was released on bail two months in to serving her year long sentence. <a href="http://www.freedomtocreate.com/ayat-al-gormezi" target="_hplink">Ayat Al-Gormezi was the first female prisoner of conscience in Bahrain</a>. She has become a symbol of resistance to men and women alike in Bahrain.