Amid repression, art scene in Thailand's capital blooms

Tue Mar 8, 2016 4:19am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Amy Sawitta Lefevre

BANGKOK (Reuters) - On a wall in a northern suburb of Bangkok "Asin Acid" puts the finishing touches to a spray-painted picture of a colorful giant chicken holding a broken loudspeaker.

"The loudspeaker represents the media. The media is trying to say something but is being interrupted," said Asin, who uses a pseudonym for his street art to protect his identity and said he is inspired by Cranio, a graffiti artist from Brazil.

"The rainbow colors represent freedom," he said.

Thailand's military seized power nearly two years ago and has censored media, hauled in hundreds of critics for sessions of "attitude adjustment" and snuffed out protests.

Junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha has threatened to shut down news outlets critical of his government and regularly scolds journalists who he considers straying from the official line.

But state repression has unleashed a wave of artistic expression, say artists and art lovers, and the Thai capital's art scene is blooming in response to life under junta rule.

"It's because they can't talk about it that they're creating," said Gili Back, a cafe and gallery owner, referring to Bangkok's artists.

"You'll see a lot more graffiti and street art where people are having their say on walls."   Continued...

Thai graffiti artist Asin Acid works on his graffiti wall in Bangkok, Thailand, March 7, 2016. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha