The Pullman Bangkok Hotel G is currently hosting an exhibition called "Love and Faith", and it's a fitting title as both seem evident throughout the myriad artworks _ embroidery, sketches, paintings and more _ that are on display. From Hathairat Maneerat's loving recollections of her dearly missed mother to Ruthairat Kumsrichan's meditations on Buddhism, the pieces are deeply personal, the artists' feelings on display.
Left and right, Hathairat Maneerat’s artworks.
Hathairat's Thai Thangka paintings exude warmth and nostalgia, with their tale of childhood memories and the strong bonds of family. Her most impressive pieces command attention for the labourious hand stitching that obviously went into them, through which she has managed to fuse disparate yet harmonious colour schemes. Her large embroidered wall hangings allow the viewer to delight in an intricate relationship among silk, cotton and beads, which are delicately strewn along the support material.
The figure of a content woman gazing serenely down at a lotus flower is just as detailed, and miniscule beads upon her skirt have been stitched in a meticulous, measured way. Hathairat also includes pieces of her mother's clothing in her work, revealing a poignant art practice that is true to its subject.
In the work titled Number 9, Hathairat duplicates the peaceful female silhouette from her wall hangings across nine square canvases. Viewed separately, one would think they were quite similar, as each canvas possesses the figure within an encasement of dim, earthly coloured threads. At a distance however, these similarities are absolved, and a mosaic of texture, colour and dynamic thread movements take form.
The communication of tender memories continues through Ruthairat's multidimensional works. One of her framed, glass-encased wall fixtures includes delicate floral-crocheted pieces nestled below elevated ink drawings, which echo a similar design.
According to Pakorn Klomkliang, curator of the Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre, each artist has also entwined their Buddhist faith with every stitch. Ruthairat's piece, The Young Man Offers the Lotus Flower to Phramalai the Monk, demonstrates the beauty of kind acts, love and deep respect.
Pastel stitches of green and blue give fruition to a reflection of charity in action, with Vessantara Asked Jali and Kahna Out from the Lotus Pond. Ruthairat also uses various shades of coloured thread to mimic the shadows cast from luminous light. At a distance, one could mistake this embroidery for a painting. The image of Vessantara reappears in another silkscreen work, which tells the story of ultimate sacrifice _ giving away one's children.
The undeniable skill that each artwork demonstrates in "Love and Faith" is testament to the education and achievements of the artists. Both Ruthairat and Hathairat have won first prize in the acclaimed Bualuang Painting Exhibition. They also graduated from Silpakorn University with bachelor's and master's degrees from the school's painting, sculpture and graphic arts faculty. Ruthairat is currently lecturing at Silpakorn University, while Hathairat lectures at King Mongkut's Institute of Technology, Lat Krabang.
Even though the artists have created different types of works, there is a symbiosis and fluidity between them and it is difficult not to feel the joy, warmth and lustre that each family tie and Buddhist reference connotes. Although Hathairat's work does mourn the loss of her mother, her memory is beautifully radiated through every seam and stitch, and the impact of her legacy is revealed. A must see exhibition _ if not for the skill, for the moving portrayal of the human condition.
'Love and Faith' is on the 38th floor of the Pullman Bangkok Hotel G, Silom Road, and runs until March 29.
Ruthairat Kumsrichan’s artworks.
About the author
Writer: Bernadette Morabito