The art of defiance at Ratchaprasong

Illustrator siblings Pattreeda and Nualtong Prasarnthong

It's only one month after the bombing that devastated downtown Bangkok but the pulse of the Ratchaprasong area beat strong again last week as artists, tourists and locals congregated just metres away from the restored Erawan Shrine for "Stronger Together With Street Arts At Ratchaprasong", an event to revitalise the neighbourhood and restore public confidence.

President of Ratchaprasong Square Trade Association Chai Srivikorn said that the festival is designed to help the Ratchaprasong district live up to its reputation as one of Bangkok's shopping districts.

"The festival brings together various forms of street art. They were contributed by Thai and international artists in a unity to express inexhaustible joy and the strength of Ratchaprasong and Thailand that keeps all of us ready to move forward unremittingly," he said.

"You see everyone coming together, feeling together. The best thing you can do is to feel something together," said Pattreeda Prasarnthong, one of the participating artists.

Pattreeda and her sister Nualtong used acrylic paint to spruce up a massive canvas in front of Gaysorn Shopping Centre.

The sisters said they were thrilled to participate. Bangkok is their home, so the opportunity to comfort and uplift the people was one they couldn't refuse. Additionally, widespread street art events are rare, so they are doubly pleased to engage.

"We have to move on and we have to get back together as fast as we can," Nualtong said.

Though the sisters share the studio, they don't practice the same art style. Nualtong's is feminine and fashion-focused, whereas Pattreeda's work has a cartoony feel. They brought their varying styles together.

"It's all together, no matter if it is sad or happy. There are many people that feel it together, with you," Pattreeda added.

Graffiti entitled 'Fun & Family' on a large typographic installation that reads 'Stronger Together' by Kittipong Khamsat.  

Kittipong Kamsart, a.k.a M Buddha Bless, also contributed to the festival. He sprayed playful graffiti onto huge block letters that read "stronger together" which is also located in front of Gaysorn shopping centre. His piece for the festival is primarily inspired by animals -- those he has cared for and those symbolic to Thailand, such as the elephant.

After multiple days of work, he was weary but said: "If you do something you love physically you are tired, but you are happy and everybody can feel what you want to express."

He, too, calls Bangkok home. The chance to translate his feelings into art and share them with the public made Kittipong happy, but even better was that he did so while showing the area was safe. 

Street art is prevalent and evolving in Thailand. Kittipong wants people to see talent isn't limited to only European and North American artists.

People should take the bombing as a lesson to always act with care and caution, he said, but like the rest of the city Kittipong remains hopeful it won't happen again.

Other participating artists include Hatairat Charoenchaichana or Oh Futon, Sombatsara Teerasaroch, illustrator Somnuek Klangnok, Chalit Nakpawan, Tongyoz Boonplitpol and Jeremy Ville.

The collection of artworks will be on display on the pavements in front of and opposite to Amarin Plaza until Oct 18.

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