The group exhibition ศิลปะนานาพันธุ์ ศิลปะประชาธิปไตย (‘art for democracy’) opened on 28th September at Angoon’s Garden in Bangkok. Most of the paintings in the show are displayed outside, with some hanging next to a small pond. The exhibition (a less provocative equivalent of the political art show Uncensored) runs for exactly one month.
Each artwork is a response to the Thai military’s political influence over the decades. For example, Jirapatt Aungsumalee’s painting ประตูแดง (‘red gate’) depicts the outlines of two men hanged from a red gate in 1976, the extrajudicial killings that precipitated the 6th October 1976 massacre. A painting by Ekalux Julsukont also refers to 6th October: a man ready to strike a corpse with a chair, a figure from Neal Ulevich’s iconic photograph of the massacre.
The exhibition includes a single sculpture, Pin Sasao’s ถังแดง: ความตายของบิลลี่ (‘red barrel: the death of Billy’), which uses a mannequin and barbecue to represent the murder of human rights activist Porlajee Rakchongcharoen. (Porlajee, nicknamed Billy, was stuffed into an oil drum, in an echo of the ‘red barrel’ killings of Thailand’s anti-Communist purge.) There are also photographs of performance art events by Sinsawat Yodbangtoey, Memory / History / Democracy (ความทรงจำประวัติศาสตร์ประชาธิปไตย), taken at monuments marking various Thai political upheavals.
The short film The Two Brothers (สองพี่น้อง) and the Anatomy of Silence (กายวิภาคของความเงียบ) exhibition were also inspired by the ‘red gate’ hangings; the gate itself will be shown at an exhibition marking the anniversary of 6th October this weekend. The man with the chair has been painted by numerous artists, including Headache Stencil and Tawan Wattuya.