Pichaya Khunnawat is a Thai artist based in Bangkok. After receiving a degree in Bachelor of Visual Arts from King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, then a degree in Master of Fine Arts from Silpakorn University, he started working in the art industry and in 2018 he had a solo exhibition titled “OFF-CROSSED” at Case Space Revolution, Bangkok. As a nature enthusiast, his practice explores the roles of nature along with human phenomenon throughout history under the concept of “a place where no one belongs”.
During all these years of spending time in nature, gardening, growing various kinds of plants like cactus, succulents, rainforest trees etc., Pichaya realized how much green color affects human emotions.
The process of his artwork begins with emotions, as he mentioned “Nature is like a therapist who cures our souls”. Inspired by Impressionism, he started to go outside and paint in search of peace of mind. As he learns about his emotions through landscapes, nature keeps finding its way to enlighten him. Not only that leads him to thoughts about nature being connected to humans as parts of culture, being used as a path to one’s spirituality in order to explore oneself and get to the understanding of humanity, the process also leads him to notions concerning the power of capitalism hidden in each leaf cell. Moreover, a walk inside a “public” space such as a park or a national park gets him thinking if it’s just a public space by name. Since every “public” space is actually owned by a kind of institution or by the government, is there a place that truly belongs to us individuals?
In Pichaya’s oeuvre, ideas from different areas like anthropology, sociology, history, anthropocene and ecosystem are gathered together and mirrored through representations from paintings to ceramics. Besides the fact that human passage is involved with nature in terms of spirituality, his observations on fragments of nature exhibited in museums as a way to elevate human conditions also pushes Pichaya to offer a glimpse of antihumanism through his work and challenge the audience to connect the dots what it means to be a human, if us humans are simply living creatures just like any ants running around on the ground or any fish looking for food in the deep blue sea.
INTERVIEW - Pichaya with TARS, 2023