‘Art Exhibitions’ Category

Rohini Devasher & Sung Tieu: The Ghost War

September 19th, 2019
25 September – 23 October 2019
Curator: Abhijan Toto
Opening Reception: Wednesday 25 September 2019, 7pm
 
 
The Ghost War brings together video, print and sound works by Rohini Devasher and Sung Tieu. How have the infrastructures of war in the 20th Century produced the contours of the worlds we inhabit today? And how do these layered histories of war continue to haunt geographies and landscapes? The show engages with the particular position of Thailand in Southeast Asia, particularly during the Cold War, and the pivotal role it played during the American War in Vietnam. 
 
 
Vietnamese-German artist Sung Tieu’s work unpacks often-ignored histories of the War in Vietnam, layering personal narratives, archival material and poetic interjections. In ‘The Ghost War’, she engages with the history of the PSYOPS’s ‘Operation Wandering Ghost’, where sound was used as a tool of warfare against the Viet Cong. The CIA, who used the Ramasum Complex in Udon Thani as their base, developed a haunting soundtrack which was blasted into the forest by US soldiers in an attempt to force the Viet Cong to surrender. Through sound and video installation, Sung Tieu appropriates this form, and attempts to unpack the capacity of sound to alter and to haunt landscape, and the long-term effects of war on communities.
 
Speculating further on this relationship between landscapes and war is the Rohini Devasher. Devasher’s practice looks into the construction of scientific discourses, often focusing on Deep Time and the climactic. In this exhibition, she presents a work of speculative fiction entitled ‘Shivering Sands’, and an associated series of prints. Beginning from the ruins of sea forts off the coast of the UK built during WW II, Devasher uses this peculiar geography to unpack the layers of time haunting these strange ruins. She intersperses the video with a text by Laura Raicovich on the land artist Walter de Maria’s ‘Lightning Fields’, poetically weaving the two contexts together, and imaging a larger history of the masculinist reshapings of landscapes, and their long durée effects. 
 
The Ghost War invites the viewer to re-imagine the frameworks through which we have hitherto understood the histories of war in the region, unpacking specific histories, and their latent effects, and through this, to begin to imagine their relationship to cosmic and to other scales of history. 
 
 
Sung Tieu, born 1987 in Hai Duong, Vietnam is an artist based between Berlin and London. Her artistic practice spans installations, performances and public interventions. Forthcoming institutional solo exhibitions include Haus der Kunst and Nottingham Contemporary (both 2020), forthcoming group exhibitions include the David Roberts Foundation (2019) and Prague Biennale (2020), forthcoming performances include Tate Modern. She is part of several art collectives, among them TROI OI, Asia Art Activism, The Forest Curriculum and East London Cable.
 
Rohini Devasher works in a variety of media, including sound, video, prints, and large site-specific drawing. Her current body of work is a collection of “strange” terrains, constructed by observing, recording, fictionalizing, and reimagining objects and spaces that exist at the interface between science, nature, culture, perception, and production. Her work has been shown at the 7th Moscow Biennale; Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, Kansas; Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon; ZKM Karlsruhe; and Singapore ArtScience Museum, among others. She has had solo exhibitions at the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum and vis à vis Experience Centre, New Delhi. She has been an artist-in-residence at the Spencer Museum of Art, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, and Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin.
 
WTF Café & Gallery 
7 Sukhumvit Soi 51, Wattana, Klongton-Nua, Bangkok 10110
www.wtfbangkok.com
BTS: Thonglor Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday, 4-10pm 
Free Admission
 
For further information please contact:
Somrak Sila, Christopher Wise
Tel: +66 (0)2 662 6246, +66 (0)89 926 5474, +66 (0)89 926 5159
Email: somrak@wtfbangkok.com, cw@wtfbangkok.co

 

Christopher Wise: Affliction

July 10th, 2019
19 July – 18 August 2019
Opening Reception: Friday19 July 2019, 7pm

 

“O what has come over us? Where are the violent fates pushing us back to? I see passing by, in headlong flight, time which makes the world a fleeting place. There seems to be no defense and no understanding of the cause of the afflictions. Was it the operation of the heavenly bodies or of our own iniquitous doings, being sent down upon mankind for our correction by the wrath of an almighty power? Our distraction by entertainments and devices, ignorant of seeing the almighty in the infinitesimal. We are absorbed in pleasure with song and revel, sparing to satisfy no appetite, and to laugh and mock at no event. A plague of ecstatic despair echoes throughout the East and West, persons are distraught and almost without feeling. Little by little, from town to town, from village to village, from house to house, and finally from person to person the connective tissue of the affliction-ridden society has come undone and in its place a cruel, surreal rapport. The afflictions have made us more avaricious and grasping, even though we have far greater possessions. More covetous and disturbed by each other more frequently with suits, brawls, disputes, and pleas.

As we recognize our own afflictions, not to speak of many others of a similar or even graver complexion, diverse apprehensions and imaginations we view each other with harsh resolution, to shun and abhor all contact with the sick thinking, thereby to make our own health secure. Sound judgment, perhaps, as it affirmed that there was no medicine for the affliction superior or equal in efficacy to flight. But to where? Our need to have the freedom sufficient to satisfy our appetites not as recluses, but free to enviously regard those things particularly to our taste or liking.

Lamenting our misery, we fear to remain, yet dare not flee.”
 
 
* * * * * * 
 
The sculptures in Christopher Wise’s exhibition Affliction reveal the power in the infinitesimal. Microscopic specimens: spores, bacteria, viruses are recreated on a grand scale. The prosaic materials, common to Thailand, hint at the dark roots of materialism, industry and policy whose banality make us ill.  Yet the bold primary colors have a simple beauty that echoes the seductive qualities of the “entertainments and devices” we are addicted to, things we know are unhealthy but can’t put away.  Reminiscent of enlarged toys, the specimens symbolize an immature curiosity that never learns. Objects are multiplied to be come a new object, as cells divide and grow to become organisms. With the addition of other surfaces or other objects, they evolve to become more beautiful, addictive and irresistible. 

In “Le desert, Albert Camus speaks of a “repugnant materialism” where everything we do and pursue in a capitalist age ravages our very existence — where we voluntarily swap dead ideas for living realities, another type of contagion. The Plague of Camus’ novel, the critic John Cruikshank insists, is also a reflection on “man’s metaphysical dereliction in the world.” We are powerless to resist, no vaccines or antibodies can stop us spreading the affliction. We “share” and “like” our phantasmagoria across the world.
 
The pieces are named in Latin, referring to a resemblance to events and things occurring during our own time of affliction.
  
 
 
 
 
WTF Café & Gallery 
7 Sukhumvit Soi 51, Wattana, Klongton-Nua, Bangkok 10110
BTS: Thonglor Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday, 4-10pm 
Free Admission
 
For further information please contact:
Somrak Sila, somrak@wtfbangkok.com
Christopher Wise, cw@wtfbangkok.com
Tel: +66 (0)2 662 6246
 
 
================
 

 

Christopher Wise: AFFLICTION [Coming Soon]

June 25th, 2019

Opening July 19th 7pm
Art installations
 by Christopher Wise

 

Planet Krypton

April 7th, 2019

Immersive Exhibition

By Prontip Mankong in collaboration with Pisitakun Kuntalang
Curator: Somrak Sila co-curated by Penwadee Nophaket Manont


26 April – 2 June 2019
Opening Reception: Friday 26 April 2019, 7pm

 
WTF Gallery is delighted to invite you to “Planet Krypton”, a one-of-a-kind immersive experience that will challenge many of society’s assumptions. The exhibition uses interactive and multimedia installations as a potential for creativity, to expose the ambiguity of our imaginings and the reality that society often assiduously turns away from.
 
The exhibition was born from a desire to tell the story of Prontip Mankong, a Thai activist and performing artist who has also staged several plays addressing social and political issues in Thailand. Starting in 2014 Prontip served two years and ten days in one of the world’s most crowded and dismal jails after being convicted of violating Thailand’s absurd lese majeste laws by participating in the play “The Wolf Bride”. After she finally left Bangkok’s Central Women’s Correctional Institution, Prontip became a vocal campaigner for prison reform in Thailand. She immediately started a support group to assist former inmates after their release. This exhibition hopes to bring the audiences by a circuitous route closer to the life of some of these prisoners.
 

To conceptualise this very delicate and complex reality into a contemporary art exhibition, the curating team invited Pisitakun Kuntalang, a multi-disciplinary artist, to exchanges ideas with Prontip and other former inmates. Pisitakun’s work investigates his experience seeking to make sense of their histories, aiming to connect the personal experiences of the sufferers, artist and audience and engage with history, politics, economics and popular culture, but with a heavy dose of humour to make the subject palatable to easily alarmed audiences.

 
Pistakun and Prontip are in the final analysis in search of humanity under extreme conditions, where a compete denial of freedom forces people to adjust and control their integrity. This process led them to the question what is human degradation and what can turn it, besides the acquisition mere survival mechanisms, it into a kind of ‘superhuman’ potential, like that found on planet Krypton, home of damaged superheroes.
 
WTF Café & Gallery 
7 Sukhumvit Soi 51, Wattana, Klongton-Nua, Bangkok 10110
www.wtfbangkok.com
BTS: Thonglor Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday, 4-10pm 
Free Admission
 
For further information please contact:
Somrak Sila
Tel: +66 (0)2 662 6246, +66 (0)89 926 5474
Email: somrak@wtfbangkok.com

 

Headache Stencil: Thailand Casino

March 4th, 2019
24 February – 31 March 2019
Opening reception: Sunday 24 February 2018, 2pm
 
 
After several rejections by local galleries here, Headache Stencil presents his 2nd solo show in Bangkok “Thailand Casino”. As audacious and provocative as always, Headache Stencil creates a new installation art to express his personal notions on the ever delayed and broken promises stories of Thailand’s election in 2019 after the junta took over Thailand since 2014. The artist aims to be an agent of changes by creating the visuals through his understanding on the most current and debatable issue in our today society. 
 
 
Thailand Casino exhibition aims to encourage the viewers to be more courageous and respond provocatively to the systems and structures of control by the authorities on this latest election.
 
Headache Stencil is a pseudonymous Thailand-born street artist and political activist. Dubbed Thailand’s version of the British graffiti artist Banksy, Headache catapulted to fame in January 2018 with his graffiti of the Thai junta No.2 Prawit Wongsuwan’s face inside an alarm clock, a jab at the lack of financial transparency by the generals, who was struggling to explain his collection of undeclared luxury watches. In March 2018, he was in the spotlight for his graffiti of a black panther crying tears of blood, a reference to the case of a Thai construction magnate who was later charged with poaching one of the protected cats during an illegal safari hunt in a national park. In September 2018, he depicted Thai junta chief Prayut Chan-o-cha as "a lucky cat" with a paw raised to rake in money.
 
 
His nickname "Headache" alludes to the pain he hopes to inflict on the mighty.
 
Visitor information
WTF Gallery & Café 
7 Sukhumvit Soi 51, Wattana, Klongton-Nua, Bangkok 10110
www.wtfbangkok.com
BTS: Thonglor Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday, 4-10pm 
Free Admission

 

MaisMeno//Miguel Januário: More or Less

December 21st, 2018

14 December 2018 – 10 February 2019

 

Opening reception & Artist Talk/Presentation By Miguel Januário and Headache Stencil : Friday 14 December 2018, 7.30pm
 
 
The Embassy of Portugal in Thailand, the Portuguese Cultural Center in Bangkok in partnership with WTF Gallery are delighted to invite you to the solo show “More Or Less“ by MAISMENOS (Miguel Januário) at WTF Gallery. The opening reception will be held on Friday 14 December 2018, 7pm at WTF Gallery.
 
The concept of art “intervention” suggests breaking down the fixed and known into particles of the unknown from which a new public consciousness may emerge. Grass-roots interaction exploits the city as site and medium for critique. Art interventions in urban spaces are of many kinds, which collectively symbolize how many different ways there are of understanding, visualizing and materializing the issues of society. They are all intended as agents of change that operate or exist to subvert, resist and continually destabilize the tangible, fixed and known perceptions of public spaces. 
 
In Thailand, art intervention is a relatively new phenomenon, often carried out clandestinely by shadowy collectives who respond provocatively and fleetingly with micro-actions to the systems and structures of control and knowledge, for example with the street stencil works of Black Panther and Watch using the faces of Thailand’s leaders to subject them to often comical critiques.
 
More or Less exhibition showcases MAISMENOS//MIGUEL Januário’s works to Thai audiences to show up remarkable parallels in the practices of Thai and Portuguese street artists and the obstacles they resist: constraint of freedom of media, nationalism, the over-exercise of authority and the fragility of democracy. The artist intends to showcase the manifestations of art intervention in urban spaces between the two countries.
 
 
 
±MaisMenos± is a project by Portuguese visual artist and graphic designer Miguel Januário (b. 1981) that began as an academic thesis in 2005 and later took on a life of its own. It offers a critical reflection rather than a model of political, social and economic organisation inherent to contemporary urban societies. Conducting a clinical dissection of reality that plays with the dualities intrinsic to the Western Ideological edifice, the project’s programmatic expression is reduced to the greatest possible simplicity and seemingly mutually exclusive opposites: more/less, positive/negative, black/white. 
 
Under the ±MaisMenos± banner, Januário has been producing thought-provoking, cutting-edge work both indoors and outdoors in a variety of media – from video to sculptural installations, from painting to performance. Besides numerous illegal public art intervention in several countries, the project has also been showcased in solemn solo and group exhibitions in various institutional contexts, including at Vera Cortes Gallery (Lisbon, 2010), MACE-Museu de Arte Contemporanea de Elvas (Elvas, 2011,2014), Underdogs Gallery (Lisbon, 2013,2014,2015), Caixa Cultural (Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and Brasilia, 2014), Museu do Coa (Vila Nova de Foz Coa, 2015), Centro de Arte Contemporanea Graga Morais (Braganga, 2015), MUDE-Museu do Design e da Moda (Lisbon, 2016), MACRO-Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Roma (Rome, 2016), and leading art festivals and events such as Walk & Talk Festival (Sao Miguel, Azores, 2011), Guimaraes European Capital of Culture (Guimaraes, 2012), La Tour Paris13 (Paris, 2013), Nuart Festival (Stavanger, 2014), and Forgotten Project (Rome, 2016). ±MaisMemos± has also been the subject of two TED talks, at TEDxLuanda (Luanda, 2014) and TEDxPorto (Porto, 2015), and other public lectures. The project is also the focus of Miguel Januário’s ongoing PhD research at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto.
 
 
Visitor information
WTF Café & Gallery 
7 Sukhumvit Soi 51, Wattana, Klongton-Nua, Bangkok 10110
www.wtfbangkok.com
BTS: Thonglor Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday, 4-10pm 
Free Admission

 

Varsha Nair: Shifts

October 31st, 2018

November 3 – December 2, 2018 
Opening Reception 3 November  2018, 6pm

 

 
 
The  contemporary  landscape  is  constantly  changing  and  being  re-defined.  As  towns  and  cities  become  gentrified  it  increases  displacement  and  heightens  a  sense  of  isolation  in  the  population.  As  long  as  a  nation  can  portray  a  happy  and  glittering  image  while  glitches  in  its  society  remain  concealed,  on  surface  all  seems  to  be  in  control.  
 
In  Shifts,  Varsha  Nair  presents  her  own,  and  collaborative  and  curated  works  that  include  mixed  media,  multimedia,  and  a  site-specific  installation,  spanning  from  2000  until  the  present. Like  layered  palimpsests,  the  video  projections,  drawings  and  photographs  address  the  illusive  “/”  space,  the  space  in-between  that  bridges  and  separates,  acting  as  a  divider  but  simultaneously  as  a  connecting  point.  Tracing  flux,  loss  and  uncertainty,  the  works  presented  here  deconstruct,  reconstruct  and  map  different  realities  both  tangible  and  abstract,  private  and  communal.
 
Explored  also  is  the  bond  between  built  spaces  and  memory  of  places  that  once  were  significant  to  people  inhabiting  them  but  now  seem  ghostly,  covered  up  or  completely  erased  and  forgotten,  becoming  blind  spots  in  contemporary  society.  Impermanence,  ephemerality,  and  transience  are evoked  to  tell  stories,  bringing  places  of  the  past  into  the  present  to  remind  and  reclaim  some  of  their  previous  integrity  and  keep  them  visible.
 
Varsha Nair was born in Kampala, Uganda, and studied at Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayaji Rao University, Baroda, India. Inviting multidisciplinary collaborations, her work encompasses various approaches and genres including making, writing, and organising projects, including for Womanifesto in Thailand. Varsha has lived in Thailand since 1995 and exhibited internationally including at About Cafe/Studio, Chulalongkorn Art Centre, BACC, Khoj (New Delhi), Tate Modern (London), HKW (Berlin), Art in General (New York), Lodypop (Basel).
 
She is currently invited by Lucerne School of Art to mentor Masters students and set up the Masters Dialogue Program.
 
Exhibition venues: 
>WTF Gallery 
November 3 – December 2, 2018 
Opening November 3rd, 6pm
7 Sukhumvit soi 51, 02 662 6246 
 
>Bridge Art Space. November 10, 2018 – January 13, 2019 Opening November 10th, 6pm
Charoen Krung (near Soi Charoen Krung 51), 089 666 2051 
 
www.varshanair.studio
http://monday2monday.tumblr.com/
www.ctrlp-artjournal.org
 
For more information and other inquiries, please contact Nim Niyomsin, nimniyomsin@gmail.com, 095 820 5995

 

NEW OLD CITY –The Permanent Temporary Mound by Shinya Akutagawa

August 22nd, 2018
24 August – 13 October 2018
Opening Reception 24 August 2018, 7pm
 
Shinya Akutagawa has created an elevator as a ‘non-place’ (‘Utopia’ in Greek language) with Trai Phum (Three Worlds in Thai language) as ‘Exceptional Places’ (out of modernity) as an interactive installation. His work raises the question—how can we see culture, from which perspective should the arts be shown regardless of the nationality? 
The installation presents non-places (elevator, hyper-modernity or utopia) where the audience is expected to see exceptional places (the idea of Trai Phum) from the non-places. 
 
 
 
Three Worlds of King Ruang (Trai Phum) written in 14th century is the first truly literary work by a Thai author. It is considered essential for considering the identity and culture of Thailand. While the conception of ‘world’ within the book doesn’t correspond to modern science, its philosophy will amaze contemporary thinkers. Similar to meditation practitioners who reach the stage of ‘all perception and non-perception’ or ‘nothingness,’ there is still a realm above and beyond this that cannot be described because those who reach Nibb?na do not return to tell us.
Modern cartography gave shape to Thailand since the 15th century, influencing not only geography but also Thai people’s identity as nation state. Yet this geography of modernity still could not swallow and digest the mysteries of ancient maps of Ayutthaya showing the mythical Golden mountain, Trai Phum. 
 
The Elevator is one of the symbols of hyper-modernity located everywhere. In urban life, its function ‘must’ be perfect. As functionality is the ultimate requirement for the urban condition, there is no cultural aspect if an elevator is out of order or operates in a unique manner. However, if an audience is on a ‘symbolic’ elevator, it can be a device for rethinking contemporary society. Inside an elevator is a homogenized ‘non-place’ where one spends significant time regardless of social status. At the same time, on the elevator, passengers who must have their respective ‘culture’ stay with others temporarily, all of them deprived of their cultural identity.

 

Otherwise Inside by Samak Kosem

August 15th, 2018

19 July – 16 August 2018
Opening Reception 19 July 2018, 7pm 

“Pondan under the Pondok’ is a photography series based on my anthropological field research trying to understand queerness in the Muslim society of Thailand’s Deep South, where LGBT issues are a very sensitive topic to discuss and gay people often cannot reveal their sexual identity. This series is mainly about the self and representation of being queer amidst Islamic fundamentalism. The photographs were taken during Samak’s field research in 2017. 

 
 
As he grew up and studied in an Islamic school (pondok), Samak was often bullied as a ‘pondan’ (in Melayu) or ‘kratoey’ (in Thai), which are more or less derogatory terms for gay or transsexual people. Samak had a close friend called Walad who suffered the same everyday abuse but was much braver in expressing his gay identity, sometimes cross-dressing when we went to bars. Yet his parents were very devout Muslims, and as long as Walad obeyed them in certain things he was free to be he wanted. He prayed five times a day, he wore Arabic dress to the mosque, and then he changed into his going-out clothes with high-heeled boots and a leopard-print miniskirt. 
 
People at school were forever telling them that because of their aberrations God would never accept their prayers. But they also came to their rooms for sex at night. This gave him the idea for a Muslim Prayer Book that took gay Muslims as the model for learning how to pray for other people to respect us as equals and leave the judging to God. 
 
 
This also formed the basis for his field research in the Deep South Thailand in early 2017 to develop my Ph.D. proposal on homosexuality in Islam. To do that, he taught myself photography, making a first series that tried to understand young gay students, gradually winning their trust so they would allow me to capture their real selves.
 
Samak’s photography also focuses on the practice of many male Muslim students of “len pheuan”, a term signifying same-sex sexual activities among their peers that they do not perceive as gay. In this way they create a sense of “brotherhood” without ostensibly violating religious precepts. Young Muslim men in his view interpret religious practices on bodily principles to make them feel less guilty about their sexual desire. The photos reflect this ambiguous definition of male same-sex relationships in the paradigm of Islamic schooling. 
 
This constructed “bromance” highlights the fluidity of sexuality and its diverse dynamics. This photograph employ a reflexive ethnographic approach, drawing on his own experience from when he was twelve years old to approach sensitive questions of Muslim homosexuality through the experiences of rebellion, atonement, hidden desire and losing the self in religious discourse and textual interpretation focused on concepts of the body and sexuality in the Qur’an and Islamic morality. The photos, therefore, aim to understand socio-cultural and sexual relations by opening a space for gay Muslim voices that have long been hidden and blanked out by Islamic fundamentalism in Thailand. 
 
Samak Kosem
Born 1984, Bangkok, Thailand
 
Samak Kosem works in the field of visual anthropology and his recent research in the Deep South focuses on Muslim culture and and nonhuman subjects. He uses photography and art ethnography as a methodology to reflect aspects of his studies. Samak is interested in queer studies, focusing on homosexuality in Islam to understand the limits of gender perspective in the region. He holds a BS and MA in cultural anthropology from Chiang Mai University. Most of his work has been published in books and academic journals. 
 
Queer Muslim will be Samak’s first solo photography exhibition. His other set or works are recently selected to participate in the first Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 in October 2018.
 
His latest interview (In Thai): https://prachatai.com/journal/2018/04/76449
 
 
Visitor information
WTF Café & Gallery 
7 Sukhumvit Soi 51, Wattana, Klongton-Nua, Bangkok 10110
www.wtfbangkok.com
BTS: Thonglor Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday, 4-10pm 
Free Admission
 
For further information please contact:
Somrak Sila, Christopher Wise
Tel: +66 (0)2 662 6246, +66 (0)89 926 5474, +66 (0)89 926 5159

 

Coal: The dirty business Cleansing through art and performance & Talks

June 14th, 2018
9 June – 7 July 2018
Opening reception & Talk: 9 June 2018, 19.00

 

ARTISTS:
Jittima Pholsawek
Sompong Tawee
Chitava Muninto
Satit Raksasri
Vichukorn Tangpaiboon
Wichai Juntavaro
Chumpon Apisuk
 
 
WTF Gallery in Partnership with Greenpeace South East Asia and co-ordinated by Community Art Project are delighted to invite you to a group exhibition “Coal: The dirty business, cleansing through art and performance” at WTF Gallery and Café on Friday 9 June 2018.
 
Programme:
 
1900-late: Opening reception
 
1930-2030: Talk & Discussion on “Coal: The Dirty Business”
Speakers: 
>Akradej Chakjinda, Activist against Coal Fired Power Plant in Krabi
>Diao Thaleluek, Urak Rawai villager
>Chariya Senpong, Thailand Climate & Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace South East Asia
 
Moderator: Jittima Pholsawek, Artist, Community Art Project
 
2030-2300: Live performances by Jittima Pholsawek, Sompong Tawee, Chitava Muninto, Satit Raksasri, Vichukorn Tangpaiboon and Chumpon Apisuk 
 
(All performances will be spontaneous and occur all over WTF cafe and gallery throughout the night without fixed programme)
 
 
The exhibition is co-ordinated by the Community Art Project after a group of seven artists and photographers who came together last year, uresearching materials and information in Krabi from locals and activists who oppose the construction of the coal-fired power plant projects in Krabi and Thepa by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT).
 
Research has shown that the areas where EGAT intends to build the plant and the route of coal transport from Indonesia lie at the heart of the southern Andaman sea’s marine ecosystem. Affected areas cover the provinces of Ranong, Nakorn Srithammarat, Phang Nga, Krabi, Trang, Satun as well as most of the islands in the Andaman sea including Malaysia’s Langawi.
 
The marine ecosystem consists of the basic constituents of saltwater habitats like tidal flats, mangroves, sea grass, coral, and rock formations that provide food and shelter for one of the world’s highest concentrations of marine diversity for over 360 species of fish and sea life. The exhibition will focus on the lives of local villagers from Urak Lawoi who will feel the most negative impact of the coal-fired power plant on their economy and culture — not to mention the locals’ belief in the sanctity of the land which may be entirely destroyed.
 
The two coal-fired power plant projects in Thepa and Krabi have met with stiff resistance from locals and NGOs, who say it will threaten the environment and ruin their livelihood, which depends largely on fishing in the case of Thepa and on tourism in the case of Krabi. As a result, the Ministry of Energy has decided to put construction on hold for three years pending additional environmental and health impact assessment. However, despite this small victory, the local communities and NGOs feel this is merely an attempt to stall the inevitable as the j of the project still yield great political power. The artists therefore believe it is vital to continue raising awareness and keep the debate alive.
 
From the field research by the artists and their experiences in previous art community projects, they have concluded that the most important factor for success in battling the authorities is for locals to protect themselves from being exploited by politicians and capitalism by standing united. The local communities and their leaders must remain impregnable to external stakeholders and arm themselves with knowledge and understanding of the long-term impact.
 
Artwork in this exhibition includes video, installation, painting, photography, poetry, mixed media and live performance.
 
 
 
About the artists
 
Since the political turmoil against the government of Thaksin Shinawatra led to the 2006 coup, contemporary art in Thailand had seen a rise in politically charged work. After the 2014 coup, however, a number of art and cultural professionals have struggled with self-censorship, the junta ban on cultural activities and a climate of fear.
 
After the 2014 coup Thailand’s art scene changed its function dramatically due to self-censorship. Polarization in Thailand raised tensions within the art world as much as in any other social sectors. But that has also added a healthy debate and much-needed criticism in and of Thai art. 
 
The exhibition is a project, co-ordinated by Community Art Project, involving seven Thai artists/activists. Some of them were pioneers in raising awareness of pressing political and social issues in Thailand. Group members became known for their radical work in various media and collaborations with other socially engaged artists. Using performance art, poetry, installation, mixed media, literature, VDO and photography, they were identified with the changes in society since the 1970s, when several of them formed associations including Asiatopia. Some of them took part in rallies and called for public monuments to the uprisings against dictatorship and brought social and political issues into the realm of art.
 
The social and advocacy project they have highlighted include environmental issues, the rights of sex workers, capitalism, cultural change, the impact of development and urbanisation on indigenous and minority groups, corruption and many other issues.
 
 
Visitor information
WTF Café & Gallery 
7 Sukhumvit Soi 51, Wattana, Klongton-Nua, Bangkok 10110
www.wtfbangkok.com
BTS: Thonglor Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday, 4-10pm 
Free Admission
 
For further information please contact:
Somrak Sila, Christopher Wise
Tel: +66 (0)2 662 6246, +66 (0)89 926 5474, +66 (0)89 926 5159
Email: somrak@wtfbangkok.com, cw@wtfbangkok.com