Abhisit’s daughter’s cat art exhibition reviewed

When your dad is one of Thailand’s former prime ministers who commonly makes newspaper headlines – what do you do?

You find ways to escape. And in Prang Vejjajiva’s case, that’s in painting.

Prang’s first solo exhibition at Koi Art Gallery, “I Wonder a Wonderland,” features surreal oil paintings of felines that start to resemble self-portraits when you realize the young artist’s political pedigree.

Hate cats? Steer clear. Felines are not only the main subject but also the inspiration for all of Prang’s works. In Sunset, a white Persian cat reclines on a luxurious bed of flowers, surrounded by macaroons and a champagne flute, as the sun sets over the sea in the background (indeed, the works are all fittingly titled). The single cloud in the sky is shaped like a cat, as is a pillar rising out of the water.

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Prang explores ideas of escape and joy through this series – concepts that come across more clearly when you take into account her genealogy and experiences abroad. The feline main character is perhaps an avatar of Prang; she has described a cat’s nature and personality as similar to her own. Independent, gentle, solitary… and with an affinity for sweets?

Her paintings ooze syrupy sweetness. From the bright, pastel palette of colors she hardly strays from, to the Bambi eyes of the innocent creatures that play supporting roles in her paintings, this is sugary stuff. Even the darkest of her paintings, titled Nightmare, is a mushy sort of melancholy. Cat skulls hang from a dead, leafless tree, but the feline subject here still stares back with the same watery eyes seen throughout the series. It’s more surreal than abstract, but you still can’t shake the lighthearted impression established by the rest of her pieces.

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It’s been just days after the exhibition’s opening, yet more than half of the works have already sold. One might wonder if it’s because of her background, coupled with the media interest the exhibit has generated.

It’s probably a combination of things, said Kruti Mawani, Business Development Manager at Koi Art Gallery. Kruti explained that it’s not simply pretty colors and cats on a canvas – Prang is skilled in technique, evidenced by the blending of color gradients in each of the pieces.

And if the work didn’t impress, why would someone want it in a collection, right?

While Prang’s paintings might be better suited for a children’s bedroom rather than, say, over a headboard or in a foyer, the exhibition is certainly pleasant to view. There are illusions in the pieces – keep staring and everyday objects slowly emerge. A spiral staircase appears in one piece, teacups in another. Always, you’re playing a game of “Where’s Waldo?” for feline faces – hidden in the petals of a flower, a conk shell, or the center of an Oreo cookie.

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Yes, there are Oreo cookies. And icing, and cupcakes, and did we mention macaroons?

If felines and sweet treats are your thing, go now. But if you’re a cynic, don’t expect universal truths to reveal themselves to you through the tranquil eyes of luxurious cats. Either way, the art – and the gallery’s three floors and friendly staff – make Koi worth a visit if you’re in the neighborhood (between Sukhumvit soi 23 and 31).

Prang Vejjajiva’s “I Wonder a Wonderland” exhibition is on display from July 4 to July 31 at Koi Art Gallery. Koi features contemporary works of art by emerging and established artists from Thailand and abroad.

 

FIND IT:

I Wonder a Wonderland” Solo Exhibition by Prang Vejjajiva

July 4 to July 31

Koi Art Gallery

43/12 Soi Sukhumvit 31 [Sawaddee],

Klongton North, Wattana,

Bangkok 10110 THAILAND

Open Tuesday – Sunday, 11am to 7pm

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CITY: BANGKOKCATEGORY: LIFESTYLESUB-CATEGORIES: ARTS

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