• The woman in Tada Varich’s portraits represents a visitor to the Samyan area.
  • Suphattra Monsaweang remembers friends who made ordinary days extraordinary.

Glimpses of past and future

Art July 30, 2018 01:00

By The Nation

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Golden Land has again recruited artists to turn its Samyan Mitrtown into a better-looking building site



BILLED AS Bangkok’s first “smart” mixed-use development, Samyan Mitrtown on Rama IV Road is under construction and surrounded by tall walls to keep passers-by safe. Now the hoardings are also entertaining them.

Developer Golden Land Property has invited renowned photographers Tada Varich, Kachain Wongleamthong, Sirima Chaipreechawit and Suphattra Monsaweang (aka Manee Mejai) to turn the usually dull construction barricade into a street-art gallery.

Large prints of their images are affixed to the boards.

With “Urban Life Library” as the guiding concept, the Samyan Mitrtown Artist Collaboration 3 follows up on two earlier endeavours that proved successful. 

And how can they not be successful? You get to look at something beautiful, stirring, even inspiring, instead of a blank wall.

Sarit Triroj of Golden Land points out that Samyan district has long been a commercial district and the aim in bringing in artists is to match “the best of the old and the new”.

“The photographers portray Samyan based on their memories and their own personal stories. Their work adorns the last phase, well before the project officially opens in October 2019.”

Nontawat Charoenchasri, design director at Ductstore the Design Guru, recruits artists for the project.

“The first year we presented graffiti by six artists and the second year the work of four illustrators. This year we’ve opted for photographers,” he says. 

The woman in Tada Varich’s portraits represents a visitor to the Samyan area.

In “Reflection of Samyan”, Tada, who specialises in fashion shoots, presents a set of portraits of a woman that are meant to convey the emotions of people living in Samyan and of visitors to the area. 

“I wanted to get a street angle and offer a reflection of the neighbourhood, using a woman to represent someone just visiting,” he says. “My photographs portray Samyan as a community, and you see actual reflections – like in a shop window and in a pool of water on the ground. Each picture has a different emotion because I believe this community is home to various emotions as well.”

Kachain Wongleamthong relives old favourite restaurants in his abstracts.

 

Kachain, another fashion photographer, has a series of abstract pictures of popular restaurants in the district, focusing on shiny elements that distort the reality, presenting fresh perspectives.

“I’ve always been around Samyan, so I know it’s a food hub – home to several legendary restaurants,” he says. 

“You can eat from morning to night and the price is affordable for those living or working in the area, such as university students, office workers and taxi drivers. You can cut through the little alleys to get around the area. Samyan is one of the best food havens in town and it’s always a lively place.”

Sirima Chaipreechawit goes exploring in the construction site and imagines what’s to come. 

Sirima, a street photographer, evokes the joy of learning back in the days when everyone felt like an explorer and was “looking wide”. She in turn explores the Samyan Mitrtown construction site itself and discovers a world of the imagination, offering dream images of what it will look like once completed and what fun might happen within its creative spaces.

“To me, Samyan is a place of dreams for the old and young,” she says. “It’s surrounded by design studios and art spaces. The area truly supports creativity and the people who want to see their ideas flourish.”

Suphattra Monsaweang remembers friends who made ordinary days extraordinary.

Portraitist Suphattra goes in pursuit of “long-lost friends”, depicting one such friend who can be counted on to produce smiles and laughter and make an ordinary day extraordinary, a day worth recording in photos.

“All my life I’ve been learning about the many aspects of friendship,” she says. “Every time I think about my friends in the past, I can still remember the beautiful moments. I remember their smiles and laughter, their tears and other sincere emotions. A real friend can always lift you up, even when you’ve hit rock bottom.”