Every day is Mother's Day

Artist Ruthairat Kumsrichan examines the enduring aspects of parental love

Ruthairat Kumsrichan and her first son Namkhun with the painting Mommy's Hero. (Photos: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Stepping in the Ardel Gallery of Modern Art, visitors can feel the sense of warmth and love between a mother and her children in the art exhibition "Mother's World" through various art forms including acrylic and organic colour paintings, embroideries, papier-mâché and pottery works.

"I learn more about humanity from being a mother. I explore inside my mind deeper than before. I use different types of media to represent the many ways and techniques of raising children," said Ruthairat Kumsrichan, artist and mother of two.

Ruthairat is an art instructor who recently earned her doctorate in visual arts from the Faculty of Painting, Sculpture and Graphic Arts, Silpakorn University. The exhibition title comes from her doctoral thesis.

Ruthairat Kumsrichan and her embroidery and pottery works.

"I always have my sons in my heart. Every work was inspired by them. My sons are my muses who inspire and empower me. I have a teaching job, duties at home and artworks to create, but with strength that my sons give me, I can do every job perfectly," said Ruthairat with big smile.

"Mother's World" displays Ruthairat's artworks from the past three years. Her muses -- five-year-old Namkhun and three-month-old Nammon -- were at the exhibition's opening ceremony and Namkhun ran back and forth to check on his mother throughout the interview. An acrylic on canvas painting, Mommy's Hero, was one of many works inspired by her sons.

"The eyes of the subject in the painting look like eyes of a superhero in order to show that my son was my inspiration. It doesn't matter how tired I am, they are my motivation to fight for anything," she said.

Cradle and Cradle 2 portray a mother's happiness and pain while pregnant.

Growing up in Suphan Buri, Ruthairat is close to her parents and relatives. Before having children, her artworks often portrayed strong family bonds.

"My childhood was my happiest time. I lost my mother due to liver cancer at the age of 13. When I moved from Suphan Buri to Bangkok to study, I often felt miserable and lonely. I missed my warm and happy childhood memories. To create artwork is like a therapy that makes me happy and I can imply stories about my family in my works," the artist said.

Papier-mâché represents a mother's powerful love.

To present the magnitude of a mother's endless and unconditional love, Ruthairat created many sculptures, paintings and embroideries in large sizes. Two large embroideries, Cradle and Cradle 2, which took several months to finish, depict herself while pregnant in black, white, grey and red colours.

"I tried to depict how big a mother's love is through artwork size since it is the most noticeable visual element. There are black and grey colours in these artworks because being a mother doesn't always bring happiness. A pregnancy brings both happiness and pain. There was discomfort, difficulty in breathing and backaches. While pregnant with my second son, I had more morning sickness than with the first son. Even though I took medication, I still had symptoms. White colour in the embroideries represents a mother's pure love and red means steadiness," explained Ruthairat.

Ruthairat is interested in several media. She began with drawing and painting and later found she needed more media to express herself. Then, she created embroidery because it reminded her of her mother.

"Whenever I pick up a needle, thread and fabric, they remind me of the love and warmth that my mother used to shower on me. She repaired my clothes and also crocheted scarves and sweaters for me. Though she didn't teach me how to embroider or crochet, they connect me to her, so I want to do what she did," explained the artist.

Embroideries remind the artist of her mother.

Pottery and ceramics connect Ruthairat to her childhood and her son because clay is reminiscent of the old days in Suphan Buri when she made her toys from clay and today, her son enjoys creating clay figures with her.

"When I was young, I didn't have any toys, so I made buffaloes and cows from clay. Learning the process of pottery is similar to learning to be a mother. Both my sons and I have grown and gradually learned about each other. The process of learning has turned out to be more complicated, but it shapes me to be a better mother. Also, while I am working with clay, my son likes to sit next to me and says he wants to play with clay as well. I used to wonder how I could take care of my sons and work at the same time, but I could do it. I was so happy," she said.

Papier-mâché is another technique that Ruthairat uses to present a mother's love for her sons.

"Papier-mâché is amazing because paper is light, but after adding many layers of paper, thin and light paper become solid, like the powerful love of the mother, which strengthens and fosters her children so they grow up strong," Ruthairat explained.

From left, Double The Pain, Nursing The Baby and Mother Of Two depict a mother caring for her children.

After being a mother, Ruthairat understood the love of her father and mother more than before. She realised that her parents wanted to protect her from any harm the same way that she wants to protect her own children. As a mother, she has become more observant and cautious. She hopes that the exhibition will remind visitors of the love of their mothers.

"I didn't understand why my father kept killing mosquitoes that bit me, but now I do. When my son cried because he got hurt in a bicycle accident, his crying was like a stab in my heart. I hope that visitors will recall how their mothers love them and how they treat their mothers. It has been known that mothers love their children and in a mother's heart, there is always compassion and gentleness. I hope visitors will receive positive energy and enjoy the exhibition," concluded Ruthairat.

"Mother's World" runs at Ardel Gallery of Modern Art, Boromrachachonnanee Road, until Sunday. Admission is free. Visit facebook.com/ardelgallery or call 02-422-2092 for more information.