Death, drugs, and monsters infest Bangkok’s SAC Gallery

Image: Preyawit Nilachulaka / Courtesy
Image: Preyawit Nilachulaka / Courtesy

A giant, scaled monster opens its mouth, prepared to swallow a crowd of winged skeletons and human soldiers. 

The ghastly creature is part of Cocaine Hurricane, one of several artworks coming to SAC Gallery’s Monster exhibition. For the show, eight artists will use mythical creatures and fairy tale themes to depict socio-political topics ranging from the U.S. drug war to Thailand’s handling of COVID, along with universal topics such as death and pain.

Many works play with bodies of humans and animals. Some, like Cocaine Hurricane, combine both into half-human, half-beast creatures. 

“I think in the past 20 years, there are some artists who use the body to explain something,” said Chol Janepraphan, one of Monster’s two curators.

‘Cocaine Hurricane.’ Image: Raj Bunnag / Courtesy

Each artist has a unique background. Thai-American printmaker Raj Bunnag has a history of discussing the war on drugs, and governments’ attempts to protect citizens from themselves. Cocaine Hurricane is a depiction of Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar. Chol says Raj’s content could apply to Thailand’s war on drugs as well.

Raj will display another print in a similar style, Weedsquatch & Gorilla Glue Garden, another dense illustration featuring skeletons and elements of Thai folklore. The giant gorilla represents Thai nobility, said curator Patticha Thithimmaporn. Chol said it is about the campaign to legalize marijuana in the United States. 

Another artist to show is painter Preyawit Nilachulaka, whose work explores death, mortality, and the meaning – or meaninglessness – of life. One of his works involves a character named Bob who dies of COVID-19. In the painting, Bob is cloned five times in various professional uniforms, including that of a policeman and doctor. 

“The story of Bob is he died, and he’s kind of between life and death,” Patticha said. “It’s about the situation of the government, the police, and doctors who have responsibility for his situation.”

Kitikun Mankit, Taiki Sakpisit, Aof Smith, Vipoo Srivilasa, Komkrit Tepthian, and Three will also be shown.

Admission is free. The show runs during regular gallery hours Nov. 16 through Feb. 12, with a reception at 6pm on Nov. 18. The gallery is located off Soi Sawatdi and Soi Sukhumvit 39 on Soi Phon Si, a short ride from BTS Phrom Phong.

‘Weedsquatch & Gorilla Glue Garden.’ Image: Raj Bunnag / Courtesy

SAC Gallery
10am-6pm, Tuesday-Thursday
160, 3 Soi Sukhumvit 39, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana
062-258-5580 Ext. 401

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