The real thing
The monsoonal rain dropped in like an old friend. We both knew the routine, and after a short familiar exchange, in which I shared a shelter with a family of cats and the rain made it’s seasonal point, I continued along the sparkling, steaming road. My destination was the famed Wat Phratha Doi Saket temple. Built in 1112, this Wat is named after the Thai word, “Senket”, and a Pali term, “PhraKesaDatu” which means the hair relic of the Lord Buddha. I feel lucky that such an important cultural centre is within walking distance of my studio. Mind you, walking in the tropics makes every step count twice. But I am determined to not only walk to the temple, but also climb the steps that lead up to it. Eventually I reached the town, where an exhausted looking Coke sign proclaimed, ‘This is the real thing.’ Reassured, I continued along my track to the buddhist temple.
I am in front of the serpent framed steps and begin making my way up the road to enlightenment. Not easy work. It was late afternoon and most of the visitors had already left the Wat. The shopkeepers were busy keeping their shops safe for the night and the monks were cleaning up. I could not have picked a better time to visit. The monsoonal downpour had transformed the Wat into a glittering jewel; a photographers delight, with reflections everywhere. I almost had a spring in my step on the way home. This will not be the only time that I will be visiting this beautiful place.
The blue rice was served along side the read and the white rice. The food was as colourful as the butterfly that the children had created this morning. In an effort to keep all of my options open, my sunday was spend at the local church, where with the help of a bunch of enthusiastic children we created another butterfly. I am starting to gain an insight what this project may be able to communicate. In the spirit of the philosophy by Joseph Beuys, that art has the potential to transform society, this project saves as a platform for a cultural exchange. Through the use of simple storytelling and the local material we are able to create something that is both familiar yet new. The ‘thing’ is both the object, the process and the experience. The sunday butterfly is a light and fragile looking sculpture, like a fleeting friendship made on a sunday morning.
Rain drops on lotus
She had me on the floor and there was no escaping her, she kneaded and stretched my muscles like a pizza dough and then twisted my limbs into a party pretzel. Just moments before, I was happily walking along the road enjoying the daily street theatre of food sellers, darting motorbike and the local dogs acting tough in front of me. I entered the Thai massage place with some apprehension, this was going to be a first for me. It only took fife minutes of massaging and I was already converted. I left the place feeling lighter and taller. I know I’ll be back!
Stepping outside, I was once again cloaked by the monsoon rain like a well worn shirt and I made my way home. Near my studio are three little lakes that are filled with the most stunning lotus flowers, each one floats in the lake like a small tropical island. There is nothing more peaceful than walking through a tropical landscape in the warm rain and there is nothing more beautiful than observing rain drops on lotus leaves.