12 September 2022

Silhouette of Memory

Silhouette of Memory Silhouette of Memory

Pornchai Lerdthamsiri’s Silhouette of Memory (เงาภาพ) features oil and watercolour paintings spanning the last sixteen years of Thai politics, from the 2006 coup onwards. The exhibition is at Kinjai Contemporary in Bangkok from 2nd to 17th September. (The gallery is also home to the Museum of Popular History, a collection of memorabilia and ephemera from contemporary Thai politics.)

Pornchai illustrates the resurgence of the yellow-shirt movement and their occupation of Suvarnabhumi airport in 2008, and the Constitutional Court’s dismissal of PM Samak Sundaravej that same year, though his main focus is the red-shirt protests. He captures the optimism of the red-shirt rallies in the first few months of 2010, followed by their violent suppression by the military. In one painting, soldiers are shown firing from the SkyTrain platform at wounded civilians sheltering at Wat Pathum Wanaram. (Wittawat Tongkeaw’s painting Interregnum/สิ้นสุดพุทธาวาส was also inspired by the Wat Pathum Wanaram incident.)

Silhouette of Memory Silhouette of Memory

Alongside these older works in oil are fifty new watercolour paintings documenting the recent student protests against Prayut Chan-o-cha’s government. Whereas other artists—including Wittawat, Lucky Leg, Tawan Wattuya, and Jirapatt Aungsumalee—have painted portraits of individual protest leaders, Pornchai’s watercolours show the protesters en masse. He also depicts the use of water cannon and rubber bullets to disperse the protests.

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