Wednesday, April 28, 2010

(Social) Realism: Thailand

Therdkiat Wangwacharakul

Thertkiat Wangwacharakul's art has won him many prizes including first prize in the prestigious ASEAN Philip Morris Art Competition (2000) and the silver medal for the 2002 48th National Exhibition of Art, to name but a few. His chosen surface material distinguishes him from his contemporaries, for he uses sheets of aluminium which are treated and scratched to give an aged, corroded effect that emphasizes the mood he is trying to convey; that of poverty and living hand to mouth in the big, dirty city.

Vasan Sitthiket
Vasan Sitthiket (Thai: วสันต์ สิทธิเขตต์), born on October 7, 1957 in Nakhon Sawan Province, Thailand is a Thai contemporary visual artist. A graduate of the College of Fine Art in Bangkok, he has works in many fields, including painting and poetry. He has staged three plays, written more than 10 books of poetry, children’s books and political writings.

Blue October
“If we were to look at history, it would begin to look upside down, especially because history is so complicated. We must think in completely new terms when looking at history because it was made to be forgotten.” Vasan Sitthiket.
In October 1996, coinciding with the 20th commemoration of the October 6, 1976 massacre, artist activist Vasan Sitthiket produced and exhibited his Blue October series at the Sunday Gallery in Bangkok.
Blue October does the cultural work of making visible and visceral the extent of the massacre. He uses gold leaf on all the victims in the series, an act of respect for the dead. After the massacre, very few of those killed received proper burial rites. Many were turned away from temples during those days of political turmoil. The Blue October series exists as multi-layered memories that document, indict, and pay homage through black humor and satire.

Iraq War: 5 Years Later
Thai artist Vasan Sitthiket is showing a series of new paintings about the Iraq War 5 years on at the National Art Museum in Jakarta, Indonesia. The show opens March 20th, and looks pretty interesting. Sitthiket has been injecting politics and information about the current Iraq War in his dense, layered paintings for awhile now, and has been successful in a way that seems impossible for a US-based artist working so seriously with the same themes.

World (Social) Realist Art (Index of Countries)
This blog page is part of an ongoing project by artist and part-time lecturer Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin ( to explore Realist / Social Realist art from around the world. The term Realism is used in its broadest sense to include 19th century Realism and Naturalism as well as 20th century Impressionism (which after all was following in the path of Courbet and Millet). Social Realism covers art that seeks to examine the living and working conditions of ordinary people (examples include German Expressionism, American Ashcan School and the Mexican Muralists).

Click here for (Social) Realist Art Definitions, World (Social) Realism and Global Solidarity, Art and Politics, Social Realism in history and Country Index.

Suggestions for appropriate artists from around the world welcome to

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