Sgt. Samarn monument underway; Luang Cave museum coming next year

Photo: Singha Park Chiang Rai/ Facebook
Photo: Singha Park Chiang Rai/ Facebook

Over the weekend, Thailand’s national artist, Chalermchai Kositpipat, revealed the first look at the planned monument to Sgt. Samarn Kunan’s, the retired SEAL member who died in the historic rescue mission at Luang Cave earlier this month.

A replica of the statue shows Sgt. Samarn in a scuba diving suit, complete with an oxygen tank and a diving mask around his neck. He appears to be standing on a rock, with 13 boars at his feet, a reference to the members of the Wild Boars youth soccer team he helped to save.

Chalermchai said that the monument will stand 2.4 meters tall and take an estimated four months to complete. It will be placed outside the planned Luang Cave museum, which is to be located within the Khun Nam Nang Non forest park.

Photo: Singha Park Chiang Rai

Known best as the creator of the White Temple, Chalermchai said he has obtained permission from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Natural Resources to build a museum near the cave. An exact location has yet to be determined.

The museum, which Chalermchai plans to construct entirely of wood, will showcase the story of the dangerous mission, with photos and a giant painting done by local artists.

The construction is expected to be complete by January.


The Hero

Over the weekend, dozens of Thai artists gathered at Art Bridge, a local gallery in Chiang Rai, to begin painting what will be a 13-meter long canvas tribute to all the rescuers who saved the 12 boys and their soccer coach.

The painting, which is almost complete, will be titled The Hero and feature key figures from the 18-day-long operation.

Photo: Singha Park Chiang Rai/ Facebook
Photo: Singha Park Chiang Rai/ Facebook

The painting shows Sgt. Samarn in the middle. Near him stands Australian doctor Richard Harris, Provincial Governor Narongsak Osottanakarn, and Richard Stanton, one of the British divers who led the team to discover the trapped boys.

Vern Unsworth, the diver and cave expert currently caught in a very public fued with tech tycoon Elon Musk, is also featured in the painting.

Photo: Singha Park Chiang Rai/ Facebook

Apirak Panmoonsil, one of the artists working on the project, said the painting was meant remind people to never forget the rescuers and their kindness.

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