Sunday, August 18, 2019

Sleeping as an art form

Feb 12. 2019
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By The Nation

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From airports to train stations, young photographer Pabhawin Disthajorn showcases her photos of people snoozing in her exhibition “Sleepers” showing at Kathmandu Photo Gallery from March 2 to April 27.

It seems easy to photograph the sleeping – the subject is not going to dash off or even move; you wouldn’t need to be an expert cameraman. Pabhawin’s longer gaze is rewarded by revelation of the inspiration behind these simple but haunting images: we soon discover that these shrouded sleepers are travelling to a different dimension. They’re able to cut themselves off from environmental disturbances as if that public space were in fact their safe haven, their private bedroom.

Cut to a corner of Ikea, a middle class family is spending its day off selecting bedroom furniture. They fall asleep on the soft mattress and sofas, out of exhaustion from working so hard to pay for their “dream bedroom”. Pabhawin captures this series of photos with sympathetic humour.

“The series ‘Sleepers’ reveals Pabhawin as a sensitive observer of something as simple as sleep, which every human needs. She’s able to view these sleepers both in the context of public versus private space and as beautiful sculptural forms, as well as reflect the middleclass aspiration for a modern, convenient, tasteful private bedroom at low cost,” says curator Manit Sriwanichpoom.

Pabhawin, 24, is a recent graduate in visual arts from the School of Architecture, King Mongkut Institute of Technology Lat Krabang. She is working as a graphic designer for a well-known Thai fashion designer. “Sleepers” is her first solo show.

Kathmandu Photo Gallery is at 87 Pan Road (near Indian Temple), Silom Road. The gallery is open daily Tuesday to Saturday from 11am to 6pm. For more information, call (02) 234 6700 or visit


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