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Exhibitions

Exhibitions

Decentralized Thainess

Sophirat Muangkum

Date:

8 - 30 Jun 2024

Decentralized Thainess
Dispersing the Centralized Mythology through Nude Photography
By Sophirat Muangkum
Curated by Panu Boonpipattanapong

What defines "Thainess"? This question arose when viewers questioned the "lack of Thai identity" in the nude photography of SOPHIRAT MUANGKUM, a Thai female photographer. Despite being raised in a conservative family with traditional Thai values, her inquisitive nature and penchant for questioning her surroundings were stifled by the constraints of her upbringing and the expectations of being a "good daughter." It wasn't until she studied abroad, immersed in a culture of freedom and open expression, that she began to shed the burdens of these constraints. However, upon returning to Thailand, the question of her Thai identity lingered, sparked once more by the critique of her work.

This prompted Sophirat to revisit and explore the essence of Thainess. She questioned whether true Thainess genuinely exists or if it is a constructed mythology imposed by the state to support a centralized governance structure. This structure, while fostering national unity, simultaneously diminishes and even destroys the rich diversity in ethnicity, language, culture, traditions, knowledge, history, and beliefs.

An evident example is the erosion of regional languages among the younger generation due to a standardized education system enforced by the state, which mandates the use of uniform textbooks and curricula. This loss of linguistic and cultural diversity is deeply concerning.

Driven by these doubts, Sophirat embarked on a journey across various regions of Thailand to explore the identities, thoughts, lifestyles, beliefs, and faiths of people obscured by the state-imposed mythology. She encountered stereotypes such as the shy and unambitious Northern people, the impoverished and underdeveloped Northeasterners, and the violent Southern inhabitants. Meanwhile, the Central region, particularly Bangkok, positions itself as the country's pinnacle of progress.

Through her travels, Sophirat aimed not only to uncover the hidden truths beneath the state’s mythology but also to use her nude photography as a tool to dismantle biases and lift the burdens of these myths from her and others’ shoulders. Her work seeks to liberate minds from the constraints of centralized authority, fostering mutual understanding and celebrating diversity.

Her project, "Decentralized Thainess," is a powerful endeavor to question and break down the centralized myths that overshadow the true, diverse nature of Thai identity, ultimately advocating for a society that embraces and understands its multifaceted cultural landscape.

Exhibition at 333Gallery / warehouse30
from June 8 - 30, 2024
Free Admission with register required (Adult Only)***
Gallery open Tuesday - Sunday / 11.00-18.00

information provided by event organizer

333Gallery/Warehouse 30

Warehouse 30 (Unit 5), Charoen Krung 30, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500

Zone

2

Tue - Sun 11.00-18.00 (Closed on Mon)

BTS: Saphan TaksinMRT: Hua Lumphong

333Gallery/Warehouse 30

Warehouse 30 (Unit 5), Charoen Krung 30, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500

Zone

2

Tue - Sun 11.00-18.00 (Closed on Mon)

BTS: Saphan TaksinMRT: Hua Lumphong