Miti Ruangkritya THAI POLITICS NO.8 is part of CONFLICTED VISIONS AGAIN group exhibition at WTF Gallery from July 2 – August 23, 2020

For the 10th anniversary of WTF Gallery, we have invited 6 artists to re-visit their ideas presented in CONFLICTED VISIONS exhibition at WTF gallery back in 2014. The six artists have been asked to exhibit new artworks that best reflected their views of the current social and political climate in Thailand in 2020 in CONFLICTED VISIONS AGAIN.

When the exhibition CONFLICTED VISIONS appeared in 2014, there was despite intractable differences on the political scene a certain accepted reality for each side of the conflict. The exhibition raised the question whether we can ever have disagreements over fundamental beliefs and ideologies without becoming overwrought. CONFLICTED VISIONS was about reaching beyond prejudice.

Not long after the exhibition in 2014, however, the military staged the coup led by General Prayuth Chan-o-cha, with the ostensible aim of bringing the country back to order and peace. Since then Thailand has witnessed drastic changes across its social fabric. Questions have been raised whether the junta has created more conflict than it has solved; or whether it has created confusion both within and among groups who may have felt they had a stake in bringing this change about. The chief purpose was to reduce the country once again to a single vision, but by doing that, the junta has limited human rights and freedom of speech, and this approach has spilt over even into areas that have nothing to do with the political conflict at hand, such as simple natural justice or compassion.

In March 2019, the fiendishly complex electoral system designed to thwart the country’s powerful opposition parties still resulted in a general election result that was questionable. The government was formed, once again, under the leadership of General Prayuth Chan-o-cha. We witnessed several political scandals, the tanking of country’s economy, government mishandling of natural disasters and resources being squandered on promoting national and institutional stability. While Thailand did return to some form of peace and order despite increasingly polarised political views, the government placed its priority on heavy-handed attacks on those who dared to criticise its performance, while allowing the military to gain more influence in all areas of governance.

CONFLICTED VISIONS AGAIN consists of works made between 2014–2020 by six Thai artists whose work actively criticizes and questions social and political issues in Thailand from different or perhaps opposing ideologies. The exhibition is an attempt to examine the evolving political attitudes of a polarized society and the artistic community with a new or revised perspective on our realities six years on.

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