By Kupluthai Pungkanon
OVER the past few weeks, art exhibitions have popped up all over town as Thais remember their beloved monarch, His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who passed away on October 13, 2016.
One of the latest to open is “In Our Hearts” (“Nai Duang Jai”) at new gallery Yelo House, which brings together some 30 leading artists to share their precious memories of the late King through drawings, paintings, prints, sculptures, photography, motion pictures, and music. Speaking at the opening, national artist Naowarat Pongpaiboon urged Thais to “revise, revive and disseminate” the teachings and philosophy of His Majesty the late King before reading his handwritten poem in front of a large portrait created in soil of the late King by Sompop Budtarad entitled “Phra Chao Paen Din”.
“His Majesty’s great works and commitment throughout his life are just as he declared at his Coronation, ‘We shall reign with righteousness for the benefits and happiness of the Siamese people’. When he was here, we [the Thai people] were warm and safe. But now without him, we felt as if we are adrift. Why? Because of what he did throughout his reign. By embracing and continuing his teachings, we will not feel so alone,” he said.
Singer Thanachai “Pod Moderndog” Ujjin, Manop Suwanbinta and Yossanan “Sunture” Wuthikornsombatkul have all contributed paintings and these are displayed alongside photographs by veteran lensmen from Chamni’s Eye, including Oh Singhasuvich. He told XP he had always dreamt of taking pictures of the late King but had never managed to do so. For this exhibition, he was inspired by an old Chulalongkorn University publication featuring the portrait of King Bhumibol. He took photographs of this old image against a grey screen using Polaroid film, then rephotographed the result using a viewfinder.
Artist Channalong “Dee” Krugoied put pen to paper to draw an abundance of flowers and fruit in the shape of the Thai numeral nine. “This drawing represents the prosperity and improved quality of life in the country brought about by the late King in a form that is immediately associated with the Monarch,” he says.
Passionate about art and fashion, Sanon Tempiem created six images of Their Majesties the King and Queen during their youth, using hand-drawings and computer graphics to present them from a more fashionable angle. “The real photograph was unclear and small, so I tried to enlarge it and give it a different perspective using vintage colours,” he explains.
Akaradech Rungpunyajinda offers woodcuts inspired by the toys and collectible items of the late King.
“I am showing four woodcut series, which I created the night the King passed away. I’ve always loved the old style of toys especially bikes and cars and this is what I show here,” he says.
The second floor of the gallery is home to several remarkable pieces including Daeng Buasand’s “Maharaj” painting, an enlarged interpretation in oil on canvas of the old picture of the same name. The portrait shows the King in full dress uniform.
Graphic designer Wee Viraporn of Conscious Ltd has covered one wall with Post-It stickers bearing a portrait of the King in a work called “3,254 Reminders, 2017”. “I have been creating art with these stickers for a while. In everyday life, we use Post-Its to remind us of things and this work thus acts as a reminder of King Bhumibol’s graciousness. We selected a portrait of the King that would suit the pop-art style and the picture of him taking a photo is perfect, especially as it will encourage visitors to take their photo with the King,” says Wee.
The exhibition continues through October 27.
Yelo House is on Soi Kasemsan 1, an easy walk from BTS National Stadium exit 3.
Find out more at Facebook/yelohouse and Instagram.