Talking Exhibitions (1) – Displaced [Jakkai Siributr, (1969 – , Thai )]

Welcome followers and visitors to my blog and the latest update in my photography diary. The aim of this particular task is to gain, through visiting an exhibition, an understanding of the use of symbolism within the context of an exhibition  that will  inform and support a personal project entitled The Object as Cipher – Interpretation, meaning and the Development of Narrative. Today’s topic is a discussion about an exhibition entitled Displaced by Jakkai Siributr.  I would like to thank Jakkai for being so willing to speak so openly with me at the gallery.


Jakkai Siributr, Displaced, Bangkok Art Cultural Centre

The exhibition, curated by Iola Lenzi provided an opportunity for me to view the unification of two new installations with an acclaimed old one, That which was exciting about this particular exhibition was the varied mixture of JS’ work on display and that they each acted as an open, if unspoken, invitation to be actively involved in the various installations themselves.

The exhibition demonstrated how JS, through a combination of irony and empathy, explored the politics of ethnicity, religion communal strife and sectarian violence through the use of symbols and the interconnecting sociopolitical narrative that as woven into each one. As one progressed through the various works the tonal dissonance between the three installations revealed. JS highlighted the social contradictions and political frictions in the contemporary world.

Installation 78, was an introspective, provocative, disquietingly stoic, somber and pathos-charged installation and filled with symbolic references.

The outside of mysterious, 3.5m-high black fabric shrouded cube, was modelled loosely on the Kaaba, the sacred cube at the heart of Mecca, and embellished with brass-coiled embroidery and stylised Thai script.

78 evoked a stylised graveyard that through textile, script, symbolism and reference to mosque architecture, returned dignity to the disenfranchised dead.

Changing Room


Jakkai Siributr, Changing Room

Changing Room a costume-based installation was brash, relatable to and filled with hidden iconography and symbolism. The work presented the viewer, through role-play, an opportunity to become actively engaged in confronting issues related to the disconnect between various groups with the internecine religious and ethnic conflicts. Changing Room placed dynamic public intervention at the very core of its aesthetic.

The various artefacts had been transformed through the use of symbolism within the narrative – a play on contrasting expectations, the ephemeral versus the important, conscience versus infantilism, military versus civilian.

The viewer was compelled to reconcile the opposites and becoming involved in the issues raised. via this confrontation, and the change of identity afforded by costume the viewers were co-opted into the lives of the “other”. Experiencing the unspoken about conflict from the intimate vantage point of Changing Room, cross the sectarian divide.

In a third work, The Outlaw’s Flag, JS scrutinized the plight persecuted minorities.


Jakkai Siributr, The Outlaw’s Flag

The installation consisted of a display of twenty-one imagined flags coarsely embroidered with seeds and beads, symbolic of the plight of individuals and groups. A sombre two-screen video documentary footage of the main points on displacement played on two video screens beside them.

Through the use of symbolism and the on going narrative JS highlighted the perniciousness of nationalism that with its boundaries and exclusions, is often used to excuse abuses of power.

This installation through the use of visual drama and artistic metaphor drew attention to larger ethical issues of persecution and displacement and remains relevant and resonates globally in the contemporary world.

JS’ oeuvre, textile-rich, encompasses all media of the contemporary, the artist selecting techniques, images, and vernacular materials which operate deliberately as conceptual clues via their embedded cultural references, so communicating complex ideas that initiate debate,
critical thinking and the role of religion and politics.

Displaced questioned the viewer’s perception, interpretation, engagement – or lack of – with the wider issues presented by JS. I found my discussions with JS relevant to my own ideas about the use of symbols and the impact that they may or may not have on the development of narratives within fine art and photography. There appears to be a blurring of boundaries, – if in the contemporary world any such boundaries exist – between apparently differing aesthetic techniques and processes.

That which JS demonstrated in the exhibition was how to use the power of contemporary documentary art as a vehicle to promote a particular narrative.

Reference List


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Reflection FBO

Goff James,  Reflection, 2017, (Painting, The Three Kingdoms – Heaven, Earth and Hell © Artist Preecha Pun-Klum, MOCA, Bangkok)

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Thank you for sharing your time with me.

Have a wonderful day.


The painting, The Three Kingdoms – Heaven, Earth and Hell 

© Artist Preecha Pun-Klum, MOCA, Bangkok


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