Friday, November 19, 2010

Paisarn Tirapongwit, '10 Evil Scenes of Thai Politic', by Wasan Sittiket

Paisarn Tirapongwit, ‘10 Evil Scenes of Thai Politic, by Wasan Sittiket,’ in the Silpa Wattanatham column of the Siam Rath Weekly news magazine, Yr.57, Vol. 28, 2 – 8 April, 2010.

“When we are all governed and live in an insane and demonic political society, the rights of citizens are those of domestic animals, fattened and fed with scraps by a gang of robbers
just to make them strong enough to work and produce. It is a market for creating wealth for robbers, especially in this abnormal Thai society. In my capacity as a painter, I simply record for our children and for the next generation so they will know what we put up with or how we stood up to fight it.

‘10 Evil Scenes of Thai Politic’ stands for change.”

The content and meaning of the above sentences are a summary of feelings and thoughts put simply by Wasan Sittiket, who has shown himself to hold the station of ‘painter’ (rather than ‘artist,’ mind you). He reflects, expresses, packs, and inserts it all into his 9 paintings. Wasan has brought them all together to show in his exhibition at the Number 1 Gallery from 11 March until 3 April, 2010, the last day.

As to the ideas which are packed into and expressed in these 9 paintings, large and small, these thoughts are entitled ‘10 Evil Scenes of Thai Politic.’ Wasan Sittiket has brought them out to show the public early this year. This time there is no escape from the entangling events and myriad phenomena in Thailand’s political and government circles. He named the show ‘scenes of evil’ [to make it perfectly clear].

The crowd of art audiences who use their free time following up and enjoying works of art, whether many or few, from various exhibitions and have done so for many decades, is used to what people who make art or ‘painters’ do. For those in their early 50’s, the name of Wasan Sittiket has been around at a certain level for a long time. They know and are familiar with his approach to presenting things, creating artworks with a fierce, unruly character, clanking, blunt, and raw.

In any case, you can see the skill, the story, the ideas, and the symbols, which are always on show in Wasan’s work. For the most part, virtually all of them revolve around familiar things attached to various events that arise regularly in political and government circles. They include the point about problems of intrusion and excess, repression and exploitation, which erupt in societies like Thailand, societies that esteem gaps between classes, gaps between rich and poor, between haves and have-nots. The gap gets wider every second.

The content and stories that appear in these 9 paintings of the ‘10 Evil Scenes of Thai Politic’ have a point. There is a target of the expression, the critique, unfolding for audiences some scenes of wretched events that characterize a political world which is a filthy mud-hole, dirty and disordered, stinking and reeking, notorious, mixing feces and semen, lying, cheating, and fraud of every description by professionals playing political games. They love to ‘erect’ themselves as ‘honorable people,’ even though their every behavior, idea and act as ‘professional political gamesmen’ bequeaths to Thai people, almost all of them, very great and extreme sadness and sorrow.

1/ The Scene of the Meeting of the Parliament, 2010;
2/ The Scene of Amending the Constitution;
3/ The Scene of Begging to Share in the Accumulated Merits of a Swarm of
4/ The Scene in which the Mega-Project is Signed;
5/ ‘Today We Come to Serve’;
6/ May the People Forever be Stupid;
7/ ตถตา (It’s like that, itself.);
8/ It’s Only a Game of Politics; and
9/ Whoever Judges Me and Sets Me Free – That is Justice.

These are the names of the 9 pictures showing in ‘10 Evil Scenes of Thai Politic’. One work is missing from the show, the scene entitled, ‘The Scene of the Cabinet Ministers Unbounded Happiness.’ Why it is missing, I don’t know. The piece was not brought to the show with the other nine. Hence, the number of works on display is short by one and the whole process of ‘10 Evil Scenes of Thai Politic’ is incomplete, according to what Wasan Sittiket and the organizers announced and explained.

If you read the names of all 9 works in the show of ‘10 Scenes of Thai Evil Politic,’ as we have seen, they are more or less aimed at groups who follow politics and take great interest in the news and the crippled, inadequate mechanisms which continuously move politics ‘democratically’ in Thai fashion. They can see the pictures, sketched out, in the symbolic representations that emerge in each of Wasan’s works, which take a certain direction and tell a sort of story.

This is especially true of the works entitled ‘The Scene in which the Mega-Project is Signed; ‘Whoever Judges Me and Sets Me Free – That is Justice’; and ‘Today We Come to Serve.’ These images urge the audience to connect with and recall in feeling and thought the events and phenomena that have occurred in this era of rotten Thai politics.

As to a general overview about what his loyal fans will see in the 9 works of ‘10 Evil Scenes of Thai Politic’ by Wasan ณ พ ศ, it can be said that there is nothing new being presented to stimulate eye or mind, or to urge and excite audiences who already, and perhaps for a long time, have been familiar with his work. There won’t be anything that gets them worked up or gets their blood pumping or furiously boiling. All in all, what we see in these paintings you can pretty much say is more of the same all over again, whether it is anal sex, images of male and female genitals, spread legs, graphic outlines of lust and carnality, or monitor lizards symbolizing our ‘honorable Thai politicians’ or all the ‘professional political gamesmen.’

Nonetheless, Wasan still maintains very well the intensity of rage and power in his presentation, expressing ideas and feelings about the twisted, crippled, circumambulating Thai political mechanisms. He shows them in his paintings with a familiar rhythm, fiercely reeking, savage, raw and direct. It’s there, as always.

Wasan will doubtless go on creating these confrontational works in order to oppose injustice, evil, and the absurd but powerful members of the Thai political system, who make the Thai democratic political ‘system,’ twisted and distorted, bent and crooked, fall into corrupt cycles and whirlpools of evil. It is a failed system which cannot be healed or revitalize society to change to a better direction, strong and truly confident.

Using paintings as a way of critiquing, criticizing and attacking, tearing open and exposing for society to see the corrupt image of Thai politics, Wasan believes that this approach is necessary. It is Wasan’s own creative way of making art. He always depicts clearly and at length the mechanisms of Thai politics which revolve, base and wicked, in an unchanging society without development and lacking any search for better, more just ways.

Especially, the ideological system of the band of those who rush in to compete, to spring into the mud-hole, the stinking bog, the morass of political circles, in the role of MPs. These persons have the primary, indeed, the only objective of doing whatever it takes to have a shot at grabbing some loot, of scooping up advantages, of harvesting all those coins in the various projects of the national budget. And they have ample cover-ups to get the goods into their own pockets and the pockets of their children, their spouses, their friends, and all their many relatives.

It will be a long, long time before Thai political mechanisms will change to a better direction instead of professional game-players; before the Thai will develop patriotic awareness; before they care for their fellow citizens and are ready to work for what is truly useful for the country, for the people of Thailand; before they quit their cheating and corruption; quit manipulating stocks; quit taking advantage; quit all the other myriad bad and ugly things they do, things which go on unceasingly today. The band of political game-players has careers in Thai society and still can’t quit. They can’t resist doing evil corrupt things; they can’t keep themselves from their incessant, wretched wickedness.

Though many days, nights, and many years will pass, I feel that the pictures from ‘10 Evil Scenes of Thai Politic’ – all the evil scenes – and there are so many more which Wasan Sittiket has not yet created and expressed for us to see in his artworks – they are still ‘pictures’ or ‘scenes’ of events and phenomena that still happen before our eyes in society. The only things that change are the ‘actors’ in these scenes who come forward to take their role in each era - nothing more.

So, this goes on from the generation of the fathers to that of the sons; from nephews and nieces to grandchildren, passed on as a heritage. The evil, the wickedness, continues without end in Thai society.

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