ISAN BOY MAITREE SIRIBOON’S LATEST EFFORTS CONTINUE TO FACILITATE CREATIVE CONVERGENCE BETWEEN CONTEMPORARY ART AND LOCAL CULTURE.
Those who have been following the Instagram account of Maitree Siriboon, the creator of the Isan Boy Dream series, would notice that the artist has been spending a lot of time in Nong Bo, his hometown in Ubon Ratchathani province. We’ve seen Siriboon enjoying the simple life in the rural area, paddling out in the pond with his beagle, Jacob to harvest lotus stems. We had a chance to talk to Siriboon and he told us roughly about his initial intention to return and continue working on his art from Nong Bo with the current time being only the beginning of the transitional and experimental period as he still needs to travel back and forth. If everything goes as planned, his stay in Nong Bo will be a permanent one.
To prepare for his life in Nong Bo, Siriboon designed and constructed his own studio, Baan Isan Dream, where he will be opening a classroom for the children in the area. Another studio he’s planning to open is located on one of the plots on his grandfather’s rice field in Nong Bua Na Tham, Ban Tha Sanamchai district. Siriboon also has the idea of opening a space for a homestay and artist residency for his artist friends to spend time living with the people of Nong Bo and use the experience as material for their artistic creations. He has planned further about the founding of the Nong Bo Artist Association that aims to initiate and facilitate creative convergence between contemporary art and local culture as well as the area’s reputable handicrafts such as hand-woven and natural-dyed silk known as Prasart Phueng and the Toom Drum dance, to ultimately create new resources for tourism and add value to local products of the area in the future. Considering the presence of Nong Bo as the subject matter in his early works, from collage to the Isan Boy Dream series, there’s nothing superficial about Siriboon’s return to his hometown to work and be a part of the development of the local community despite the booming New Age, slowlife trend that turns such kind of life into the dream of many young adults today. Siriboon also organizes activities that provide scholarships to the students of Nong Bo Pittayakon School and it has been three consecutive years that he has taken the children to see art exhibitions in foreign countries. For those who have been following Siriboon’s artistic career, the relocation to Nong Bo is an interesting transition and we’re eager to see how the artist will engage art in the development of the community he lives in. And while the artist said that this relocation shouldn’t have that much impact on his own artistic creations, we also cannot wait to see what Siriboon, as a permanent resident of Nong Bo, will bring to the contemporary art scene.
TEXT: TUNYAPORN HONGTONG