Life and Aesthetics

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During my art residency, I had the opportunity to guest lecture for the Life and Aesthetics course at Chiang Mai University. It’s offered by the Faculty of Fine Art but open to anyone at the university so it was a diverse group of students. My question for them was: Where do stories come from and what do we do with them?

I shared with the class my interest in people’s stories and how they can be anchored to objects. Several of my personal projects explore this idea. Experiences and memories come to mind when we see or recognise things from our past. Sometimes they are objects, sometimes words, sometimes a smell, sometimes a feeling. When we take the time to articulate our stories, they frame our viewpoint and how we interact in life. When we take time to listen to other people’s stories we find intersections with our own and make connections.

Looking through their shared memories, I got a peek into what it’s like growing up in Thailand. One thing I noticed that recurred frequently in their drawings/writing was the use of 555. 5 is ห้า (H̄̂ā). I need to take that up!

We closed with Q+A which oftentimes doesn’t work out too well but after class, I was pleased to find students eager to participate in my collecting childhood project and wanting to chat. Thankful for this experience and being able to meet and interact with so many new friends.

highschool workshops

The highschool workshops took place earlier this week. The students are on term break so I really appreciated them taking the time to come out to Rumpueng to spend with me. The original plan was to do a mapping of place through texture and object collections but because of workshop timing, it would be dark out.

We explored our vision of place instead, contrasting how other people like visitors or tourists perceive our city/home and how we would choose to convey it. As a fan of mail and Chiang Mai being a popular holiday destination, the postcard format was used.

What is it that we value and find meaningful in the place we call home?

We looked at typical Chiang Mai and Thailand postcards depicting wats, monks, tuk-tuks, elephants and developed ideas for our own set of cards sharing what we would like other people to see and know. Here are a few of the pieces.

Our second evening was spent exploring different book structures and how the tetra-tetra flexagon could be used. Ideas ranged from depicting changing feelings to a children’s story to the elements earth, wind, fire, water.

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I haven’t learned much Thai yet and English was limited but these two evenings we were still able to share and learn from each other. I’m continually amazed at how people communicate and especially how art can give us a voice in so many ways.

art workshop at rumpueng

I had my first workshop this week with some young artists who were attending art camp. They came to Rumpueng Community Art Space for the workshop with their teachers. I thought they’d be 8-10 yr olds but the kids ranged from 3-10 which proved for exciting times! Very appreciative of their teachers’ assistance and also help with translation when needed. We started off learning more about each other in smaller groups by creating a collective special friend who would represent them.

special friends

 

On the far left, you can see the little ones had fun tracing Ajarn Tu’s (Professor Supachai) body, colouring in and creating patterns. Some things I found particularly interesting about these new friends is that they are linguistically apt, love to spend time at the Chiang Mai Zoo, and like to eat cheese.

We talked about ideas for our stories and where we could draw inspiration from in our life and experiences. We thought about possible characters, setting and objects to include. One idea from each category was painted onto story stones. These would help us in writing our stories and we could also exchange stones for new story ideas.

After snack time, we learned how to fold and make the “walking pants” book from an A4 sheet of paper and started on our stories.

It was a fabulous afternoon together with the kids and definitely felt like the first day of school for me : ).  After the red bus came to pick them up, two neighbourhood girls stopped by and we did some bookmaking together. We were able to communicate in limited English + actions + drawings. I found out they are on school break for two weeks and got them to teach me some Thai words. We made two different book structures and even managed to put covers on one before they decided they wanted to play with the cats.

Rumpueng Community Art Space

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I’m spending the month of October here as one of two artists in residence. It’s my first time in Chiang Mai and this place is just beautiful. In the 4 days I’ve been here, I’ve gotten a whirlwind tour of the area around Rumpueng: three wats, the Chiang Mai University’s campus and Faculty of Fine Art buildings (they have stone carving class!), museums, cafes, neighbourhood eateries… and met artists from near and far.

This is my work area before I unpacked all my art materials. Getting used to how much space is available and planning on doing some larger scale pieces.

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I was able to sit in on a life drawing class with some second year uni students that took place at Rumpueng. They concluded the session with a class shindig–a Thai bbq. Such a lovely time with them and of course delicious food.

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Am also enjoying

Catch day to day happenings on instagram.

 

 

guangzhou in twenty

After eleven years in Hong Kong, I finally made it up to Guangzhou. It was actually a rather quick journey by train. Lovely time with friends and exploring the city. Redtory is worth a visit.

south africa in twenty

South Africa in June is rather pleasant. Their winter was not too cold and we just happened to hit beautiful dry weather in Capetown. A few less tourists during low season is always a plus.

Cathay Pacific has direct flights to Johannesburg from Hong Kong but I took Singapore Airlines to stick with the alliance for miles and I wanted to stopover in Singapore on the return journey. It’s always a great place to visit for food, art, green space, and more food… :)

Johannesburg: Stayed at the Da Vinci Hotel and Suites, the modern counterpart to the Michelangelo Hotel next door. Sandton is an opulent bubble in Joburg.

Madikwe Game Reserve: We decided to go here as it was a closer drive from Joburg than Kruger and we were toying with the idea of getting another stamp in our passports from Botswana ; ). Sadly that did not happen. Rhulani Safari Lodge which we booked last minute on mtbeds was lovely. Two nights and four game drives was just enough and we managed to see the super seven: the big five–elephant, cape buffalo, lion, rhino, and leopard, plus the cheetah and wild dog.

Cape Town: Radisson Blue Waterfront is located just far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the V&A waterfront. The run along the water is brill as is the morning breakfast view.

Could definitely have spent more time in Table Mountain National Park hiking as well as exploring the Cape winelands.