Nerrie Kacey is the founder of Untitled, a creative space that hosts workshops, builds installations, promotes sustainability, and supports Thailand’s creative community. Untitled’s events include body casting, life drawing, boobie vase pottery, yoni incense pottery, and more, with a strong emphasis on celebrating the female body and collaborations between women creatives.
As part of our Rebellious Sisterhood series, Nerrie sat down with us to discuss reclaiming the body, embracing vulnerability, appreciating ourselves, and why she established a safe space to explore and play in the heart of Bangkok.
On Female-Focused Art Spaces
I started Untitled about six months after I came to Bangkok. I went to a life drawing event and came away very disheartened.
I thought: “This is not what I want a life drawing experience to be. I want to go and feel that I am in a safe space. I want to feel like I can connect with people. I want to be part of a community. I want to get to know the models and the people involved. I want to feel like the person organising the event loves art; that they are living and breathing and loving it.”
I came away thinking that if I can't find what I want, I'll create it. I decided to start Untitled as a way to host all-female art events - female led, female models, female cooks, female DJs and female artists.
It brings a different energy to the space. There’s no judgment. It’s more about connecting and sharing, especially when it comes to the body. We all have bodies, but it's good to see how different we all are, and then really share those experiences.
I came away thinking that if I can't find what I want, I'll create it.
Many women who participate in the life drawing workshops then express a desire to become a life model, so there’s the opportunity to experience life drawing from two perspectives. The women involved were sharing their stories: “I drew you. I've got a picture of you on my fridge.” It’s really powerful and beautiful.
After a year, I opened the space up to men as well because I felt it was now established. We had created this safe space – how it looks, how it operates – and now we could invite men in on our own terms.
[To learn more about female-focused events and communities, read our article on the rise of Bangkok's women-only spaces.]
Another value that underpins Untitled is the theme of adults playing. Why did we ever stop playing and having fun? I wanted a space where people could explore with tactile art materials, using our hands and bodies.
For example, in our Matisse workshops, the main part of the workshop is just getting out of your head and playing with materials. I am an art teacher and a really big part of this is learning how to teach creativity and imagination.
Why did we ever stop playing and having fun?
We all have such busy schedules, but these workshops are about dedicating three hours to simple play.
[To learn about another women-owned art studio focused on play, exploration, community and art therapy, read our interview with Prachayaporn "Pat" Vorananta of Studio Persona.]
On Collaborative Events
Collaboration is so important to Untitled and embedded in everything we do. With Moonerrie Fest, I wanted to support other artists and get their work out in the world; to create a space where I could make art accessible to everyone.
That’s why it’s a free event. People can come in, experience the music, attend workshops, browse the art stalls, participate in the installations – just witness and be a part of it. The first Moonerrie Fest took place in March and a second installment is taking place on June 4th and 5th online.
Moonerrie Fest started from a collaboration with my friend Mook. We then brought in female DJ Myrïnga. I feel that there are not enough female DJs in this city, or the world.
For some artists, Moonerrie Fest was their first time showcasing and selling their work, and since the event they have sold even more. It makes me really happy to be able to create a space for artists to show what they can do. With the support of others, you can achieve so much.
When people attend my workshops, they often express gratitude for being able to discover our art community. Our community is so collaborative and welcoming. People with different art styles and resources are sharing what they have.
I’ve collaborated with a lot of different people and events. I love collaborating with Sinee from Palm Pottery. I absolutely admire her and love her work; we are like-minded people.
With the support of others, you can achieve so much.
Working with Wonderfruit was incredible. It took three women, three days and a lot of hours to make the two “bamboobie” structures we used to host our workshops. I worked with Ali Frankland and Asama Honest on this project.
During Wonderfruit, it was great to meet like-minded people and actually see life drawing happening with nude models who really put their trust in me - to know that they felt safe in a field where people were roaming around was incredible.
I think it was wonderful that Wonderfruit put their trust in me. I had never done anything like it before. I had this idea of creating two giant boobs, where people walk in through the nipple, and there’s a DJ playing, and we draw naked people in the middle of a field, where there’s thousands of people walking around… and for them to say OK to this idea was so supportive.
I’m an expat and I don’t speak Thai, so I don’t know if I’m on the periphery of things that are happening in Bangkok. I think there is a big party scene here, and now mindfulness is starting to get bigger, but I think that art has sometimes been pushed to the side. One of my dreams is to have a festival with everyone dancing with their bum cast in the air!
The contemporary art scene in Bangkok is limited. There are a couple of really great galleries such as the BACC, but existing workshops are expensive and inaccessible to many people. I really try to keep costs minimal so that Untitled workshops can be accessible. Hopefully people will think that they can give something a try and maybe start a new hobby.
On the Body & Vulnerability
My first workshop was an all-female body casting event. It was just an empty room with some materials on the floor. There were 12 women participating. First, we first sat in a circle, discussed the process and set up an open, vulnerable environment. It's important that you feel safe first. It's important to set boundaries and create a safe space.
I demonstrated how to do the body casting. Then, I turned around to get some water and when I turned back around, everyone was naked, casually having a chat and giving each other advice! These were people who had never met each other before. They were helping each other rub in the body casting materials. I was so surprised. I was just so happy because everyone was so welcoming and just really up for it.
I think it’s so powerful to just acknowledge your body as yours.
During Songkran, a previous life model I hadn't seen in over eight months came up to me on the beach. She said, “I just feel so empowered. I came away from modelling and really recognised my body, and I love it for what it is.” It's given me this whole other perspective about the life modeling experience and how it cultivates self-love.
When I broke up with my ex, I realised that I hadn’t looked at my body for a really long time. I had just been so busy, “Go! Go! Go!” with everything, and I hadn’t stopped to think about it. I totally forgot that I could be sexual. I wasn’t appreciating my body. It was quite difficult.
My way of reclaiming my body and my sexuality was by taking photos of it and painting it, just for myself. It wasn’t for anybody else. It was just this healing process.
I think it’s so powerful to just acknowledge your body as yours. We go through life being told what to do and how to be. Just doing something for yourself, like taking pictures of your body, can really bring it back to yourself.
As women, we experience so much body shame growing up. Our bodies are just incredible. They get us everywhere. They create life. Our breasts can feed children and even if they don't feed children or that is not how we choose to use them, they’re still incredible, and we should celebrate them. We should be able to get our breasts out in all of our glory!
It’s hypocritical that women are not allowed to show nipples, but men are. We should be able to walk around with our breasts out without being sexualized. They should be appreciated, and it should be the norm. Instagram has strict rules about showing nipples, but fortunately my body cast has not been taken off the platform.
We should be able to get our breasts out in all of our glory!
During an all-female event that I organised for International Women’s Day a few years ago, I had the experience of being a life model for the first time. At this point, I had organised lots of life drawing events, so I thought it was essential that I experience what it was like to be a model and experience the event from that perspective. I gained so much from the experience.
I’ve also modeled with a close friend, and this experience brought us close together. We were both so nervous. Then, when we saw the drawings and paintings of us leaning on each other, I realised it wasn’t about my body, it was so much more about the experience that we had together.
Our workshops embrace openness and create a space of no judgment. They are focused on play and figuring things out, and being vulnerable. There’s always room for exploration, building community and having fun.
By Becky O'Brien
Becky O'Brien heads The F Word's Rebellious X column. She is a member of the Bangkok Rising Managing Committee, an event organiser, passionate about gender equality and an aspiring storyteller; dedicated to finding untold stories and bringing them to light.