“There are More Monsoon Songs Elsewhere”: Thai artist Dusadee Huntrakul on subtle activism at 100 Tonson Gallery, Bangkok
21 September 2018
Dusadee Huntrakul inhabits Bangkok’s 100 Tonson Gallery in a sensitive display of stolen histories. By Megan Miller
Earlier this month, American collector Katherine Ayers-Mannix returned a dozen looted ancient artifacts to the Thai Embassy in Washington D.C. While it is unclear how she obtained the objects, which are believed to be between 1,800 and 4,300 years old and made by an ancient civilization in Ban Chiang, what is certain is an overarching attempt to ratify years of cultural thievery. This comes after a string of investigations into US arts institutions who have hosted Ban Chiang artefacts since their accidental discovery in the 1960s, an event which just might rank as one of the greatest fortuitous findings in archaeology.
In the summer of 1966 a Harvard student called Steve Young was living in a village in the northeast reaches of Thailand, researching for his senior thesis, when he tripped and found himself face to face with some buried pots, their rims exposed by recent monsoons. Intrigued by the unglazed shards, he brought them back to government officials in Bangkok.
What he had stumbled upon is now considered to be one of the most important prehistoric settlements in the world. Initially dated as early as 4000 B.C. – a date since revised to 2000 B.C. or even later — the so-called Ban Chiang culture is the earliest known Bronze Age site in Southeast Asia, documenting the early development of technology, agriculture and commerce to the region.
While large numbers of the Ban Chiang objects have been returned to their native lands – and with a string of more expected to be underway – there remains a lingering resentment for their migration in the first place. And in lieu of their study and display in Thai museums, archaeologists, artists and historians have had to rely on creative enterprises to submit the pieces into national archives.
This is where Dusadee Huntrakul comes in. Having exhibited widely at Chan + Hori Contemporary, the Oakland Art Museum, the Singapore Biennale, ICA Lasalle and Palais de Tokyo, the multimedia artist returns to his hometown in an imaginative archival alternative. Bangkok’s 100 Tonson Gallery is home to his ongoing solo exhibition titled “There are More Monsoon Songs Elsewhere”“There are More Monsoon Songs Elsewhere”, in which a series of hyper-realist drawings of the prehistoric Ban Chiang bracelets, which remain in the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), stand in for the real deal. Dusadee’s black and white images portray a largely overlooked portion of Thailand’s Bronze Age pieces, both highlighting his own sensitivity in remembering the forgotten or overlooked (and displaced, for that matter) artefacts, and his subtle method of ‘archiving’ through artistic and activist measures.
Read more: https://tatinis.com/web/news/there-are-more-monsoon-songs-elsewhere-thai-artist-dusadee-huntrakul-on-subtle-activism-at-100-tonson-gallery-bangkok/
SOURCE: Tatinis ( www.tatinis.com)