Coming Community – Thailand
Handmade bricks and various construction materials
Thailand Biennale, New commission, 2018
Coming Community is Valentina Karga’s series of projects that began in Helsinki in 2016 and now travelled to Krabi for the first Thailand Biennale 2018. Responding to the current climate of social, political, economic and ecological crises happening on a global scale, and the fear it engenders, Karga imagines a conceptual pillar created though the stacking of different values and ideas to support our ‘coming community’ during this time of change.
In Helsinki, Karga worked with a group of local residents to produce a pillar out of ceramics. Each person made a piece which she then put together to form a kind of totem – a multitude of different values that form a whole. For Thailand Biennale Krabi 2018, Karga chose to work with Koh Klang community, a small, predominantly Muslim island. Only accessible by ferry from Krabi town, Koh Klang is mostly secluded from the tourist industry that has colonised most of the province. Karga was inspired by the different fields of craftsmanship thriving in the island – such as Batik, natural dying, woodwork, weaving – as well as the make-shiftedness of the local architecture.
For an entire month, Karga worked with a group of local craftspeople and school children of Koh Klang to develop the meanings that these pillars would have for their own community. Through a series of conversations and debates, the participants were given the opportunity to reflect on the values of their community that are under threat from the current pace and direction of development happening both locally and globally. These values are translated into symbols and customised into stamps, all done by local craftsmen, to be stamped onto bricks. These sessions was followed by a whole day work shop at the brick factory, where participants worked together as part of the artistic process to produce these individualised bricks for the pillars.
The four pillars now stands on the beach in Koh Klang, starkly visible against the horizon of the Andaman sea. They represent the collective values of a community and anticipation for change. Coming Community is a mapping narrative that sets a foundation for an alternative imagination, not only for each community to reflect and celebrate their unique values, but also for thinking about how these values are shared between different communities.
— Palin Ansunsinha
Thanks to Palin Ansunsinha, Paramatta Chuaykarn [ปรมัตถ์ ช่วยการ], Suthida Prapertchob [สุธิดา ประพฤติชอบ] Peerapon Ngiampisal [พีระพล เหงี่ยมไพศาล], Koh Klang community and Mayuree Brick Factory Baan Nai Nhung, Krabi [โรงอิฐมยุรี อ. บ้านหนังไหน กระบี่].
Photos from the finished artwork: Thailand Biennale Catalogue Photographers