Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sad sculpture - Bangkok, Thailand

The sculpture stretches along a good share of an edge of the park. It's made of a series of stone slabs decorated with bas-reliefs depicting various scenes of traditional Thai life: families of farmers, fishermen, nobles or tradespeople. Different clothes, tools and appearances. Only one thing in common: they are all serious. A stiflingly sad atmosphere. Here in Thailand, a place whose nickname in the web is LOS, Land of Smiles. 
All right, those Siamese smiles are not always sincere. Most of the time they are, but they can also be a sign of embarrassment, hypocrisy, malice or even wickedness. However, people who make a living out of tourism and superficial commentators, especially the foreign ones, find the stereotype of a country with a smile permanently stamped on its face fancy and useful. Very much so. I guess it would be the same to them even if it were just a misleading grimace, caused by a facial palsy.
Maybe this sculpture, although not exactly a masterpiece, is a real work of art after all. The expression of a true artist, that is an intellectually honest individual who is not afraid to go against the tide, exposing the hypocrisy of business and commonplaces to tell us that breaking one's back on a field under the sun or waking up at 4 to go fishing can spoil one's mood here too. That toil, poverty or even the loneliness of the rich are things that hardly make one smile.
Even if you are Thai.

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