Facing Demons: Never-seen photos of 1976 Thammasat Massacre to go on display

One of the unseen photos from the Oct. 6, 1976 massacre. The photo was taken by Somboon Ketpueng for the Siamrath newspaper.
One of the unseen photos from the Oct. 6, 1976 massacre. The photo was taken by Somboon Ketpueng for the Siamrath newspaper.

A series of photographs unseen by the public of one of the darkest days in Thailand’s history will be shown this Saturday at a Bangkok gallery.

The never-published-before works by Thai photographers who witnessed the slaughter of dozens of students and activists at Thammasat University will be on display at 6 Oct: Facing Demons.

The photographers recorded the violence that day, on Oct. 6, 1976, when police and right-wing paramilitaries arrested and murdered dozens of pro-democracy campaigners and students. 

“The photographs are important testimony of the event, an emotional record, and an experience of participants on that day,” wrote the October 6 Museum Project, organizer of the show.

Some of the photos were taken by former photographers working for news publications such as Somboon Ketpueng (Siamrath newspaper), Pavit Sorojchana (Bangkok Post), Sayan Pornnantharat (Bangkok Post), and Preecha Karnsompoj (Daily News).

They will be shown across four stories at the Kinjai Contemporary gallery in Bangkok’s Bang Phlat district.

The museum project consists of academics and researchers dedicated to preserving objects related to the massacre, which is all but unmentioned in schools and public life.

This year’s Oct. 6 marks the 46th anniversary of the massacre. 

Memory-holed by the state, the Oct. 6, 1976, massacre at the  university’s Tha Prachan campus  was stoked by disinformation and propaganda used to fan the flames of nationalism and provoke security forces and paramilitaries to murder.

The exhibition will be open 11am until 9pm from Saturday through Nov. 20 at Kinjai Contemporary. The gallery is located on Sirindhorn Road and can be reached from MRT Sirindhorn’s exit No. 1.

Alongside the exhibition, the venue will host a panel discussion touching upon topics including injustice, torture, and forced disappearances.

Related

See and hear Oct. 6 massacre with AR tech at anniversary exhibition

Famed director recalls Oct. 6 Thammasat Massacre in immersive installation this week only

Rescued relics to defy amnesia of Thailand’s darkest days

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