Artist returns stolen finger
A finger bone of late national artist Thawan Duchanee, which was stolen seven years ago, has been returned to his son after a superstitious artist claimed that hanging the stolen relic by his easel boosted his painting talent.
Thawan's son, Doytibet Duchanee, on Friday posted on his Facebook page to express his gratitude at the return of his father's finger.
"Let's go home Dad, I will never let anyone do this to you again. Father and son are spoken in the same breath. I will protect my father's dignity and carry on his will for art and culture, even it costs me my life. It's time to go home," Mr Doytibet wrote.
The finger made headlines after artist Sukhum Meephansan claimed that his painting ability had been improved by his proximity to the pickled finger on the Chae ("Uncovered") TV show hosted by Kachapa "Moddum" Tancharoen in June.
Viewers were quick to question the story and wondered how he had got his hands on the relic in the first place. A week later, Mr Sukhum called Mr Doytibet to apologise for his actions.
Nevertheless, Mr Sukhum again referred to Thawan's finger bone on the Hon Krasae talk show hosted by Kanchai "Noom" Kamnerdploy on Tuesday, making the same claims about the supernatural influence of the deceased's digit. He also revealed that he obtained the finger from a former pupil of Thawan known only as Minna.
Mr Sukhum told the host that this pupil had claimed Mr Doytibet allowed every pupil to collect a relic of his father as a souvenir which Minna had done before giving it to him as a gift.
Mr Doytibet wrote that he called the pupil, whom he had never met, to demand the return of the finger bone within three days.
Born in 1939 in Chiang Rai province, national artist Thawan studied at the Poh Chang Arts and Crafts College and later became a pupil of Silpa Bhirasri. It was with Silpa's encouragement and support that Thawan received a scholarship to study at the prestigious Rijks Akademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He was known for his bold brushstrokes and post-traditional take on Buddhism and mythology.
The titan of Thai contemporary art passed away in 2014. His paintings are widely praised, both in Thailand and abroad.
- Thawan Duchanee