Thai Politics is an ongoing series developed from the first major protest in Bangkok since 2006. Whilst exploring the differing political attitudes in Bangkok, the project also examines photography within an image rich world. Punctuating each addition to the series is not only a different dimension to people’s political views and behaviours, but also a different approach to how they are captured and presented. This includes curating images found across social media (Thai Politics no.2 and 4) to the more traditional approach of digital and film photography (Thai politics no.1, 3 and 5).
Thai Politics no.1 contains photographs taken with a film camera of Protestors’ T-shirts from the Yellow shirt movement against Thaksin Shinawatra in 2006.
Thai Politics no.2 is a series of 62 Photshopped images collected from the “Thaksin where are you?” Facebook group. Launched in 2010, during an intense period of political speculation, the group wanted to find out the whereabouts of the fugitive and former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Thaksin was satirized and ridiculed within the group as participants added an images of him in a wide variety of humorous scenes, from banal personal family snaps to scenes from “Harry Potter” and “Where’s Wally?” The group no longer exists.
Thai Politics no.3 includes images taken of graffitied election posters found along the streets of Bangkok. The promotional posters show the intense frustration between opposing supporters of Yingluck Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai Party and Abhisit Vejjajiva’s Democrat party during the 2011 election.
Thai Politics no.4 vol.1 (Bangkok Beauties) presents a series of 86 images featuring female supporters of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee – taken from public Facebook and Instagram groups. The project serves to highlight the somewhat intriguing and curious ways protesters have begun assert their anti-government stance. The ‘selfie’ and portrait has become a prevalent part of youth culture and its manifestation within traditional displays of patriotism and politics, adds another dimension to the discussion concerning status, self-projection, and identity in the rise of social media.
Thai Politics no.4 vol.2 (Bangkok Beauties) presents a series of 22 images featuring male supporters of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee – taken from public Facebook and Instagram groups. The project serves to highlight the somewhat intriguing and curious ways protesters have begun assert their anti-government stance. The ‘selfie’ and portrait has become a prevalent part of youth culture and its manifestation within traditional displays of patriotism and politics, adds another dimension to the discussion concerning status, self-projection, and identity in the rise of social media.
Thai Politics no.5 contains 84 tent images of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee group’s #occupybangkok campaign, taken at the beginning of 2014. The PDRC aimed to dispossess the influences of the former exiled Prime Minister Thaksin Shinnawatra and erected campsites throughout Bangkok during the protest, which later moved to Lumpini – a 57.6 hectare park in the city. The city quickly became subsumed by this new presence, as tents sprang up within the streets, next to the roads, besides electricity poles, under public stairways and within car parks. The tents not only disrupted the city in their strange and surreal appearance but also impacted the environment. Campsite waste was released into the lakes killing the fish, and the tents prevented government officials from watering the trees.
About the Artist
Miti Ruangkritya (b.1981, Thailand) is a Thai-based image maker whose work has been exhibited through international exhibitions and festivals. Highlights include: ‘Selected Winner’ by The Magenta Foundation for Emerging Photographers (UK); Solo exhibition at 2902 in Singapore, Kathmandu Gallery in Bangkok and ICI in Venice; Miti has exhibit at festivals including Arles, Format, Noorderlicht, and Singapore Photo.
His portfolio has been featured in British Journal of Photography, De L’air and Le Monde, and he has participated at the Angkor workshop with Antoine D’Agata whom he has also assisted in Pattaya. Miti is one of the featured emerging artists at Bangkok University Gallery. In 2015 he has won the ‘Portfolio Reviewers Award’ at Format Festival. He has been nominated for Prix Pictet in 2015-16. This year he has collaborated with Christina Kubisch on a visual and sound project at Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre. ‘Dream Property’, his solo exhibition is currently on show at Bangkok CityCity Gallery.