The Peninsula Bangkok launched a visual Art Poetry Exhibition with a celebrated Thai poet and cultural historian Chiranan Pitpreecha as the hotel’s very first Writer in Residence. For a one-month period from 1-31 July 2022, guests and visitors at the property can experience Khun Chiranan’s immersive new exhibit, Poetic License, which explored the intersection of poetry and visual art. The title was chosen to fit with the artist’s belief that we should break with conventions in pursuit of an earnest message. Recurring themes in these poems relate to humans’ relationship with nature and the preservation of our environment.
The installation, which is now displaying in The Peninsula Bangkok’s gallery space and public areas, invites viewers to engage with subjects that have informed Khun Chiranan’s decades-long writing career: the human searching for freedom, and the powerful-yet-threatened beauty of the natural world. Khun Chiranan, who has won numerous distinctions, including two PEN International poetry awards, joined the hotel as part of its Artists in Residence programme – which seek to boost the visibility of ground-breaking regional artists and enriched the art and literature appreciation of its guests.
Poetic License, A Poetry Exhibition is comprised of three separate components, each of which expressed Chiranan’s poetry through a different visual medium. The pieces include:
1. Visual Poetic Photography and Painting, in which two of Khun Chiranan’s poems appear transposed onto painted works of art created by Khun Adisak Somkong, an independent artist. The first of these, ‘Unity in Diversity, used deep-blue abstract patterns punctuated by bursts of light to evoke the swirling waters of the Chao Phraya River – as well as the perpetual flow of life. The second artwork, ‘Golden Silk’, incorporated fine golden threads, like those spun by a caterpillar for its cocoon. This illustrated the sanctity and beauty of utilising what nature gives to us freely; just as cotton can spun to create clothing to keep us warm, so it can used in the creation of art.
2. Zumo Book, a bound, 20-page collection of original poems by Khun Chiranan that probe the themes of personal freedom and perpetual change. Instead of print, each poem in this centrepiece publication has been weaved in textiles by PASAYA. The book’s cover features dappled blue water-inspired imagery, vividly echoing the poems’ subject matter. Earth-bound tones of abstract artwork complement the pages within, with sudden splashes of bold colour. An ancient wooden pedestal built for the book furthers this theme of movement through water. It was created by ‘Saiyart’ Collection, repurposed from the prow of an ancient longtail boat, which once formed the base of a merchant’s vessel.
The Zumo Book is a limited edition of 20 copies and priced at THB 20,000 net per book. The proceeds from the sales will be donated to SATI. SATI is a grassroots non-profit that focuses on health care and education for at risk and underserved youths in Thailand. For this exhibition we will be supporting their scholarship program.
3. Art Installation, a work that integrated Khun Chiranan’s poetry into the art installation ‘Worship the nature’. This expansive artwork occupied the space between two pillars in the centre of The Peninsula Bangkok’s grand lobby. Taking inspiration from the role bodhi trees play in Thai culture, this work of art asked us to consider the role of worship in our relationship with the environment – within us and around us. The symbolic spirit-tree theme seeks to transcend nature into what the writer terms supernatural.
Worship the Nature
Artist of ‘Golden Silk’ and ‘Unity of Diversity’
Khun Adisak Somkong
Exhibition room of writer’s biography
A bound 20-page collection of original poems by Khun Chiranan, weaved by Khun Chiranan’s very first typewriter