|Written by Panida Suvapiromchote|
|Monday, 24 September 2007|
| The serene village of Ban Com Peung in Chiang Mai's Doi Saket District is the ideal place for an international art activity called "Artist-in Residence Project" pioneered by a young blood artist, "Ong" or Pisitpong Siraphisut, 28, and his foreign partners. This non-profit organization project covers 8 Rai of lush green land near Nong Bua Lake, about 20 kilometres from Chiang Mai city. It features an office, an artist's studio, living quarters, and a spacious open area for exhibiting art pieces or organizing activities. The project has attracted several international artists to present their conceptual art projects and also to work and share their experiences with Thai artists and the local community.|
The splendid natural setting had allowed Ong to build an earthen hut in the compound by using clay mixed with coffee cherries shells. This wall suspension cottage was covered with a thatched roof. During my visit there, I found the earthen house comfortably cool while sitting in the project's home office. Asking about his fluent English, Ong revealed that it took him seven years (instead of 4 years) to complete his arts degree at the Chiang Mai University's Faculty of Fine Arts because he wanted to gain experiences while traveling by bicycle from Chiang Mai to Had Yai, visited India from east to west, Nepal and Australia while he was studying. In Australia, he worked as a street performer, a stilt walker, a waiter and a bartender. Prior to setting up the Artist-in-Residence project, Ong was involved with a large variety of jobs ranging from teaching painting, Thai language tutor, translator, features writer, to exhibition co-ordinator.
Com Peung, which means "Appropriate Remarks", Project began in 2004 with overall preparation, office and artists residence construction. Activities gradually took shape in its direction,the artists who applied to work at Com Peung Artist-in Residence project during this year included Dutch artist Rudd Matthes, American artist Eleno E.Yates, Belgian artist Jochem Vanden and Japanese artist Tatsuo Inagaki with each artist staying for either one or two months. Rudd Matthes presented his work entitled "Walk on" by creating a giant ice block and placing potted plants on top. On the exhibition opening day, it drew about 90 visitors including the village headman, monks and local villagers, apart from guests from the city. The Thai artist, Angkrit Ajchariyasophon, participated in an art project called "Chotto" meaning "Tiny" with Japanese artist group, namely Reiko Sato, Misako Morino, and Naoko Miyajima in an environmental friendly tree planting at the project.
Ong added that he advertised about the project on the website and received on average one artist applicant per week but if the time table did not match, he could not accept them. Most of artists came from Europe and they found that working at Ban Com Peung was more or less like taking a break or being it a retreat because most of artist-in residence projects in Asia were located in congested urban areas of major cities. The residency fee costs US$700 per month per artist and Ong is planning to expand the living quarters in order to accommodate 4 artists at the same time by constructing 3 more earthen cottages.
Meanwhile,Tatsuo Inagaki, a Japanese artist, noted that he was impressed by the children of Wat Pratumtaram nursery in Com Peung village who participated in a workshop series entitled "Childhood Museum" which was specifically designed to inspire the children imagination and artistic creativity. "These children are smart and they are able to remember everything. They are more in tune with nature than their urban counterparts. They talked about animals such as rabbits, mice, and snakes within their homes, as well as the Japanese hero character called Ultraman. These children made collages of cardboard boxes replicating a house. Tatsuo added that in the future, he would love to bring his own child to get in touch with the Ban Com Peung nature. The Tatsuo's Childhood Museum is based on his experiences, the collaboration of local children and part of a wide research into art education for infants at Art Institutions, of which he was awarded a two-year research grant from the Toyota Foundation in Japan. Tatsuo commented on the Com Peung Artist-in-Residence project that it was a commendable project, that he was happy to work there and had received great support from Ong.
Located next to the Com Peung Project is an artistic home stay called "The Hillbilly" run by Pat, Ong's friend, offering bamboo and earthen houses with prices going from 150 baht to 900 baht per unit. It is a place for the artist's friends or visitors. Interested person can contact Ms. Pat by calling Tel: 081-714-0701.
To contact and obtain more details about artists and Com Peung Artist-in-Residence project:
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Com Peung Artist-in-Residence Project
Com Peung Artist-in-Residence Project