Thai-born, Australia-based ceramic artist Vipoo Srivilasa explores the place we call "home" through his upcoming workshop/exhibition entitled "Thai Na Town - Little Oz".If you have visited the Land Down Under, you can join him in free workshops to sculpt an object that represents what you miss most about the country. It will take place on Nov 24-25 at Insight Education Consulting (10am-4pm, 15-20 minutes per session. 3/F, Yada Bldg, 56 Silom Road, 086-570-6760). The other workshop will take place at the Australian Embassy on Nov 30 (9am-noon. 37 Sathon Tai Road. Contact him at email@example.com to join). These sculptures will be part of his exhibition which will run from Nov 30-Jan 16 at The Art Center, Chulalongkorn University (7/F, Center of Academic Resources, Chulalongkorn University, 02-218-2965). For more information on Vipoo, go to www.vipoo.com.
My first experience with ceramics was at the College of Fine Arts in Thailand. It was not love at first sight but I grew into it. I love the idea of turning a humble piece of clay into something fabulous. I also like working with my hands. It is a versatile medium too.
WHAT IS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE WORKSHOP/EXHIBITION?
This is my latest and possibly largest project to date. It aims to address the issues of migration and cultural shifts as well as promote the importance of culture and the place we call "home". The project also provides a visual narrative of Thai and Australian culture through the experiences and memories of Thai and Australian expats. For this project, I talked to Thai and Australian expats to find out what they miss the most about their hometown and then helped them create a clay object reflective of their answer. The objects will be displayed as part of the exhibition.
YOUR PREVIOUS WORKS OFTEN COMPARE YOUR LIFE IN THAILAND WITH YOUR LIFE IN AUSTRALIA. WHY SO?
Living in both worlds has enabled me to find a wealth of inspiration from both cultures and bringing them together is a real joy.
WAS ADAPTING TO AUSTRALIAN CULTURE DIFFICULT?
Australia is a real multi-cultural society. You can tell by the variety of food on offer and Australians are very friendly and laid back. I live in Melbourne which I compare to Chiang Mai - it is a relaxing city and full of art and cafe cultures. It has been voted the most liveable city in the world and adapting to the culture and lifestyle there is a breeze.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES IN THE ART SCENE THERE?
The Australian government recognises the importance of art and culture. They provide support for artists to expand their creativity and enable them to engage in larger projects. My exhibition would not be happening if not for the support from the Australian Government, funding from the Australia International Cultural Council and the Australia-Thailand Institute.
WHAT CAN PEOPLE EXPECT FROM YOUR WORKSHOP?
Loads of fun with a dash of seriousness. You will be surprised by what people miss from their home and by their experiences of "fitting in".
WHAT'S YOUR DEFINITION OF HOME?
Home is where my work, my two kittens, and my partner are.