08 Jun ไปพร้อมพงษ์ ลงพร้อมเธอ ที่ Little Japan
Japan, the country that most people would often go visit during Songkran with their loved ones. The country where one would stroll down the promenade filled with Japanese stores, eat traditional Japanese food and find inspiration in Museums and people. Perhaps, this is how we soak in the culture and open ourselves to new experiences. But sadly, this fantasy cannot become a reality because the Songkran holiday has become an indefinite one — a holiday where we don’t know when it will end. However, we can still partake in our fantasies in the midst of the city ravaged by COVID-19 by being careful and mindful by looking at the rectangular object in our hands that has told us to stay home in order to stop the spread of disease. The feeling of sadness and isolation has seeped into our summer and has taken away the cheerfulness that would have been a part of this season.
Although, we cannot change our environment and how that affects us, we can still look at our lives and actions and reflect upon these changes positively by changing our mindset and our reaction to these changes. When we look at the space we live in, the city, the same old roads with fresh eyes — you would be surprised at all the small nooks and crannies and new things that you may have missed.
In the 1960s, Bangkok broadened it’s trades and business areas from Japan to the Bangkok that we know today. For many years, the Embassy of Japan was located near Phrom Phong, however, in the year 2010 the embassy moved to Wireless Road. And during those many years where the embassy was situated in Phrom Pong, many japanese individuals chose to move close to the embassy. And from this, the Association of Japanese people living in Thailand was established which led to the growth of many businesses such as International Schools, Japanese Supermarkets, the rising popularity of Japanese foods and pastries such as Karaage, Choux Cream and Ramen, last but not least Osakaya. These new ways of life influenced and allowed many Thai individuals to have a taste of the Japanese Culture without needing to exchange their money from baht to yen. It can be inferred that Phrom Phong became a space where the cultural exchange between Japanese and Thai people took place for many many years.
And because of this, the place that one could display pieces of art that is so enriched with Japanese culture is so important and ought to be considered when looking at the exhibition as a whole. If the Art pieces were to be displayed in Bangkok, then it should be displayed in a space that is intertwined with Japanese culture. And so, a place that comes to mind as mentioned above is Phrom Pong. This group exhibition three is a magic number 15: Hypersweet by the artist three is a contemporary art exhibition that is about the exploration of Pop Culture in Japan. Through the use of cartoon figures and anime that are squished into a rectangular screen, sculptures that reflect the viewpoints of the Otaku, this exhibition invites the viewer to interpret the pieces in the show through the lens of Japanese contemporary artists with different experiences in life. With the viewer’s own cultural background and past experiences in mind, it can be inferred that the viewer may come up with a different interpretation of the work which is one of the interesting aspects of looking at pieces of work from a different culture. And even more so, this exhibition is the artist three’s first exhibition in Thailand. In collaboration with S.A.C. Subhashok The Arts Centre and Standing Pine from Nagoya as well as being endorsed by the Cultural Section of the Japan Foundation, this exhibition can also be seen as echoing the cultural exchange between Japanese and Thai people that was prevalent in Phrom Phong many years ago. And even through the midst of the virus situation, S.A.C. Gallery is still able to share this cultural exchange through this exhibition by allowing viewers to come and view the show by appointment and through other platforms.
And so, we implore you to change your travel plans to Japan and come explore the culture right here at the Gallery. You are still able to enjoy the promenade, the restaurants, the culture and find inspiration right here at the space where both cultures intersect. Perhaps, you might even see things in a new light even in the midst of this virus outbreak. If one is able to protect oneself and be mindful and responsible to society with one’s actions. We will be able to get through these times together with healthy bodies and positive minds that are filled to the brim with inspiration and new experiences.
Story by: Methinee Boonyuen
Graphic Designer: Saruda Suansa-ard