Orawan Arunrak WAR JOURNEY is screening at A+ Online Festival of Video Art from August 1–15, 2020
A+ Online Festival of Video Art launches with a selection from A+ WORKS of ART, featuring works by Ho Rui An, Orawan Arunrak, Chong Kim Chiew, Tan Zi Hao, Trương Quế Chi, Ray Langenbach and Au Sow Yee.
After my return from Phnom Penh in 2014, I went to visit my godmother in Prachinburi Province. The visit was not long after my godfather passed away. Therefore, our conversation was about him, back when he was in the military, serving at the Thai-Cambodian border.
I teasingly asked her how come we never got rich. She simply answered that perhaps my godfather forgot to grab some gold back from the border. Before my journey to Ho Chi Minh city, I asked for my godfather’s military jacket from my godmother. I carried it with me during that six-month journey. During that time, I got a chance to go to Okinawa. His jacket went there with me. He also went there with me.
In his life, he merely was a soldier whose journeys were only to his office and marched in military parades from time to time. He did not get to travel anywhere. In the end, he lost his ability to walk due to a stroke, and it remained that way until the very last day of his life.
I took him to places by carrying his jacket with me. We wandered along streets and alleys, sightseeing spots where tales of wars still treaded but seemed to be going nowhere.
With doubts about my godmother’s tale about the gold at the border, I took my godfather with me as we embarked on a journey together. During the journey, I gently stitched golden thread along the border lines of the camouflage patterns on his jacket hoping that it might be a scene, a kick start of a conversation with that place, or any passersby.