BANGKOK — A new political art exhibition in Bangkok’s Thong Lo neighborhood is a collection of 50 something paintings, and nearly all of them are outdoor, which you can just walk in and “enjoy” – if that’s an appropriate word to describe the state of Thai democracy.
This is no typical art gallery. The works are mostly set in casual, garden atmosphere, and none of the artworks are for sale.
Although studio organizer Siriporn Sukchusri said the works shown at Angoon Garden are up for different interpretations, some of them are so blatantly straightforward, and even propaganda-like, that it is hard not to feel being preached at.
One painting, by artist Ruangsilpa Sriputthirat, is basically the image of Thai constitution with a hand flashing the anti-junta three-finger salute on top of it.
Some others are somewhat more nuanced. Siriporn said his favorite is the piece by artist Amnaj Yensabai, a square painting in acrylic where other colors are slapped over with patches of mostly green and yellow colors.
“It’s the power of military interventions,” Siripan, 26, said on Wednesday.
Another of Siripan’s favorite is by artist Nattapol Khummetha. The square piece is a collage of eight or so square frames, one surrounded another which is larger and yet another, and so on. In the middle there is the English word “freedom”.
It’s like freedom is being limited, corners into so many gilt frames.
“It looks like there’s freedom but the frames limit it. Do we really have freedom?” Siriporn wonders aloud.
A contribution by activist-turned-artist Sinsawat Yodbangtoey, called “Memory/ History/ Democracy,” is also on exhibit. It features a series of black and white photos.
In one photo, titled 1932 June 24, the long-and-white-haired Sinsawat appeared in the photo displaying a coin replica of the disappeared plaque which commemorates the June 24, 1932 revolt which ended absolute monarchy.
In another, which is in fact a series of six photographs entitled “Crawl”, Sinsawat is blindfolded with a long white cloth and made to crawl to a memorial on Ratchamnoen Avenue that commemorated a student uprising against the military regime in 1973.
Like so many other works featured here, Sinsawat’s cryptic gesture shouldn’t be too hard for the average observer of Thai politics to interpret.
Political Art Exhibition at Angoon Garden runs until Oct. 20 everyday except Monday, from 10am to 5pm. Call 080-997-7065 for more details.