By Kupluthai Pungkanon
Formed during the People’s Democratic Reform Committee-led anti-government protests in late 2013, a group of artists known collectively as Art Lane were back together last week not to demonstrate but to raise funds for the building of a vocational college for Thailand’s young people.
Eleven paintings were created for the “Art Lane #9” charity gala dinner organised by Pacific City Club and the PDRC Foundation and were auctioned off at the event, raising an impressive Bt9 million. Almost half came from the final bids on two works: “Mythologies”, an oil on canvas by Supawat Wattanaphikowit, which went for Bt2 million and “Blue Mya”, a charcoal and watercolour on paper by Sakwut Wisesmanee, which raised for same amount.
The funds are destined for the realisation of Phawana Phothikhun Vocational College, a project proposed and supervised by the PDRC Foundation.
“Phawana Photikhun was the name of the revered Phra Phawana Photikhun, the first abbot of Wat Suan Mok,” says Suthep Thaugsuban, the foundation’s president and the brains behind the school.
“It’s a place for educational reform following the path of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu. The school will offer training in tourism, hotel management, accountancy, computers, secretarial skills, foreign languages and cooking. It will be the first vocational college to train its students in a profession as well as intensively educate them in dharma. The goal is to produce good and efficient members of society. All of the students will be on scholarship and reside in the dorm at the campus, so they do not have to shoulder any expenses. In exchange for that, they have to work for the college and practise dhamma daily,” he adds.
The foundation has already purchased 42-rai of land in Na Muang, Koh Samui, Surat Thani province and a reservoir is currently being constructed to serve as a water source for the college. The land has been prepared, and construction will begin in at the end of this month, with an aim to be ready and open in the academic year 2017. It will be a model college, Suthep says, with more colleges of the same type to follow in other provinces.
Last week’s event also launched an exhibition of more than 30 paintings including the 11 auctioned, by 29 famous artists, among them Sakwut Wisesmanee, Chalit Nakpawan. Nopadon Chotasiri, Jitsing Somboon, Surapon Saenkum, Phaithoon Chongthong, Prasit Wichaya, Cholasinth Chorsakul, Sirirath Iamsakuldacha, Watana Kreetong, Sakwut Wisesmanee, Phansa Buddharaksa, Pornsawan Nonghapha, Tanadol Derujijaroen, Jaruwat Boonwaedlorm, and Chaiwoot Thaimpan.
Amrit Choosuwan, who heads up Art Lane, says the group hopes through its activities bring about a better, peaceful and sustainable of society. Each of its eight prior events has taken place at a different place and in a different context.
“This time our aim is to promote of education for future good careers. We are confident that students who graduate from our school will be useful to society,” says Amrit, whose mixed technique “Canna Flower in Van Gogh Garden” represents the spirit of old-style painting and new technology.
Chaiwoot’s oil on canvas titled “Fish Fry” is an interesting example of hyperrealism, a genre of painting resembling a high-resolution photograph.
“I live in a rural area and like to spend time walking around the fresh market. My work usually reflects daily life, like this painting of the deep-fried fish that my mother cooks. I took the photograph and then painted it.”
For “Party Lit”, Chalit says he was inspired by the bonding of the world and the universe. “I believe that everything has a bond, either directly or indirectly. Humans destroy nature causing global warming. The environmental destruction then affects our lives. Likewise, if we hurt ourselves, it’s not just us that feels the pain but also those who love us. We need to be more aware of these bonds,” he explains.
Cholasinth’s “Flow B 2011”, an original edition of his Flow series, is also about the flow of life. “Art takes time to crystallise,” he tells XP. “The artist must remain open to ideas.”
On the wall
The art exhibition continues until July 17 at the Pacific City Club on the 28th floor of Pacific Place, a short walk from BTS Nana station.
It’s open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 to 11am and from 2 to 5pm.
Those wishing to visit at other times should either make an appointment by registering at the reception counter on the ground floor or call (02) 258 2045.
Visitors are invited to donate towards the school.