TEST YOURSELF: Art against authority

TEST YOURSELF: Art against authority

Photo: Kai Maew
Photo: Kai Maew

Artists are using their talent against the powers that be

Test Yourself is where you can improve your reading skills. Whether it’s for tests like University Entrance Exams or IELTS and TOEFL, or even just for fun, these stories help you to read, understand and improve your English.
You can download a PDF and audio for this story below.

Read the following story by Eric E Surbano from the Bangkok Post’s Guru Magazine. Then, answer the questions that follow.

The anger directed at the government's handling of the third Covid wave has inspired political artists. They’ve found a home, voice and audience on Facebook. Here are a few artists who use their art to make themselves heard.

Panadda Tempaiboonkul started doing Thai Political Tarot cards when the youth-led pro-democracy movement started. She first uploaded them privately, but her friends convinced her to post on a public page.

When asked about censorship, she believes she isn't doing anything illegal but that doesn't mean she doesn't worry at times. "What I am doing obviously doesn't violate the law. But we can see the government is trying to enforce censorship as much as they can. It’s impossible not to worry."

If you've followed Voice TV's FB page then you've probably seen some of Sina's illustrations with vibrant colours but with depictions of things that are anything but "vibrant".

Sina started making political art back when the Constitutional Court ruled that the Future Forward Party should be dissolved. "The atmosphere was full of anger so I tried to express that in my work," he explains. "If there's anger, I make it angrier. If it's sad, I make it sadder. I want my viewers to stop and feel something about the political issues going on."

Complete with a version of Uncle Tu, as well as other political figures, Pixel Crazy 8Bit transforms social issues in the country to entertaining images. Of course, the real meaning of it all is far from a fun video game. While 8Bit characters are fun to look at, it's less fun when they're depicted as dying, hanging or in coffins. That's the contrast you can expect from Pixel Crazy 8Bit.

Kai Maew is another page that produces political art in a nostalgic art form. The artwork posted on the page is like old comic books you might have read as a kid. The images can range from being hilarious to dark. One of the images features a character avoiding potholes thanks to expensive gold lamp posts, while another features what seems to be a high-ranking government official on top of a coffin.

Section 1: Write the correct answer in the space provided.
1. Which social media site are the artists using? …………….
2. Whose friends told her to post art on the site? …………….
3. Who talks about anger? …………….
4. Which artist(s) has/have featured the boxes that dead people are placed in? …………….
5. Which artist says their work is not illegal?…………..
6. Whose art looks like old comic books? …………….

Section 2: Read the following passage. Then, fill in the blanks with the correct words from the choices given.
“The challenge is that I …7… not be familiar with a few issues but I want my art to …8… the voices of people. So it takes time to …9… a few art pieces. I read articles, …10… people's opinions on social media or talk to people.”
7. __A. aren’t             __B. might                __C. couldn’t
8. __A. express                 __B. expresses              __C. expression
9. __A. makes            __B. made               __C. make
10. __A. study            __B. studies                __C. studied

Section 3: Find words that match the following definitions.
11. the removal or hiding of parts of an artwork that are considered unacceptable ……………
12. bright and colourful ……………
13. a great difference between two or more things ……………
14. having good feelings about the past …………

Answers: 1. Facebook. 2. Panadda. 3. Sina. 4. Pixel Crazy 8Bit and Kai Maew (coffins). 5. Panadda. 6. Kai Maew. 7. b. 8. a. 9. c. 10. a. 11. censorship. 12. vibrant. 13. contrast. 14. nostalgic.

Test Yourself

Learn from listening

Click play to listen to audio for this story, or download to save the file
: :
Do you like the content of this article?