Based in Chumphon province in Southern Thailand, Sajja Sajjakul was a teenager during the Communist insurgencies that threatened Southeast Asian politics after World War II. Sajja began to recognize the revolutionary power of an individual in contrast to the cumulative authority of the government. The vices of the 21st century are the main subject of Mr. Sajja Sajjakul’s paintings.
The artist describes himself as “an observer and a critic,” and his detailed images explain the destruction of nature and the traditional ways of life, portraying cultural conflict and pressure which modern life demands of us. In his paintings, objects and people belonging to different eras of existence are brought together in thought-provoking scenes.
He uses the rich tones oils on canvas that give his paintings a strong visual vibrance. That presence is enhanced by his skill at depicting lifelike figures and his sharp eye for creating dimension, which imparts reality to his paintings. “I try to reach beyond the borders—language, religions or traditions,” he says, and his paintings realize that goal.
Thailand-based Mr. Sajja Sajjakul’s metaphor-laden oil paintings are sharp critiques of modern living. Globalization, social injustice, and political tumult are recurring themes ideas brought up. Utilising a dense, satirical visual language, he mourns over the demise of traditional culture in Thailand.
Allusions to climate change and government brutality are often addressed. Ominous skeletal figures are shrewd displays of power and control, domination and destruction. Simultaneously, radiant elephants in violets and pinks are stalwarts of tradition and modesty. Bells appear frequently as a symbol of freedom and bring rays of hope.
The artist’s pensive expressions bring home a sense of solemnity and aura to the works that seem to portray Sajja Sajjakul as a modern day Atlas struggling against the weight of the sky.
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