The artistic heritage of Thailand is deeply intertwined with nature and there are artists who draw inspiration from the earth's elements to craft their works that both reflect the country's cultural essence and their connection with nature. From the forests to the rivers, Thailand's landscape provides a wellspring of inspiration.
Duenchayphoochana Phooprasert is an artist and writer with a deep connection to the earth. For years, she has crafted art pieces using nothing more than soil. Her canvas is the ground beneath our feet and she employs natural elements – wood, water, and sunlight to convey messages about the changes of nature that mirror the perception of changes we undergo. Her art is the soil that comes straight from her local surroundings. The soil's colour varies, revealing the unique character of each place she visits. Each of her artworks possesses a unique identity due to the natural cracks that occur, making no two pieces alike. In her work, we find a reflection of the world's beauty and complexity, a reminder that, like the earth itself, we too are constantly changing and evolving.
“We are only a part of something much bigger than ourselves”, Sand Suwanya told us. Her perspective on herself and nature is that of deep reverence. Sand's artistry revolves around the elements of nature, particularly the colour palette she employs. Her journey into using natural colours began during her master's degree studies in Santiniketan, India. Prior to that, she had been using conventional colours, often laced with chemicals that triggered allergic reactions, causing her skin to peel. This experience led her to contemplate creating her own natural pigments, and India, with its rich tradition of using natural colours sourced from various plants, became the ideal setting for her exploration. Sand is now based in Thailand where she runs her own studio, creating natural colours that are derived from soil, flowers, and leaves, which she applies to paper, canvas, wood, and fabric, primarily for her 2D artworks. With every brushstroke and colour choice, she brings both beautiful visuals and a reminder that our lives are intertwined with the beauty of the natural world, a beauty she portrays in her artwork.
Szack is a contemporary Thai artist known for using clay made from recycled paper, in his banana-like artworks. It showcases his commitment to environmentally friendly art and symbolises his connection to nature. He specifically chose this clay due to its ability to air-dry without the need for baking, allowing him to shape it as desired. Each of his creations is unique and distinctive. His inspiration to create the artworks came from the realisation that many parts of the banana tree, including the blossom, leaves, and the fruit itself, hold practical utility, especially in the abundant context of Thailand. He brings the concept of the outer side and inner side of people into his arts by using banana that has the peel as the medium, symbolising how people often conform to societal expectations, losing touch with their true selves. It's a way for him to express how much he respects nature and how he understands people better. These art pieces remind us of how art, nature, and human emotions are connected.
While modernisation and technology are reshaping societies, there are still Thai artists who use nature elements as the connection to define their artistry. It is a reminder that even in a world driven by innovation, the beauty and significance of nature should never be underestimated.