Traditional Thai tempera on wood

Courtesy of the artist and Tang  Contemporary Art Bangkok

Sakarin Krue-On’s works in the Kathmandu Triennale belong to Village and Harvest Time, a series of miniature reproductions of traditional Thai mural paintings from Buddhist temples in Bangkok. In addition to depicting the ten past lives of the Buddha, these murals also recorded the common way of life, contemporary to the painters in ancient times. According to the conventions of traditional Thai painting, the past life stories of the Buddha, as prescribed by the religious doctrine, must be painted on the upper part of the wall, while stories of ordinary people must be painted on the lower part, at eye level. These eyelevel paintings serve as a window into the day-to-day life of other eras, as seen through the subjective perspective of the artist. Some exhibited a sense of humour and some took a satirical approach. Others chronicled life, acting as a documentary of sorts. These paintings were historical evidence. They are not illusions but a portrait of rice farming culture, the zeitgeist of the old days.

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