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This Body Isn't Mine: A Podcast Interview on Art & Activism with Bussaraporn Thongchai

Updated: Jun 7, 2021

This is a translated transcript of the third episode of our The F Word podcast where we interview different female artists about their works, inspirations and discuss social issues. You can listen to this Thai-language interview with Bussaraporn Thongchai here.

Bussaraporn Thongchai is a Thai artist whose works blur the line between the personal and the political. She is currently based in Berlin and is working as a translator for a women's shelter. Her old works often depict distorted sketches of women's bodies as a way to discuss the conventions of Thai society around sex and womanhood. Recently she has branched out to other mediums such as video art with her recent exhibit "Dear Family" at the Bangkok Art Biennale 2020 and performances with the art collective Heroines Wave.


Bussaraporn Thongchai: You need to ask yourself what is your role? You have this tool in your hand, this weapon - what would you use it for when your society is this way? When there are needs in society, would you still use art as a tool for yourself or for society, or for whom?”

[Opening Music]

Artist Bussaraporn Thongchai black and white headshot
Credit: Jingjits Photography

Blue: Hello everyone, welcome to the third episode of The F Word podcast, where we talk about women’s issues and social issues with female artists. Today we are with Bussaraporn Thongchai or Khun Deaun. Maybe you can briefly introduce yourself?

Bussaraporn Thongchai: Hello, my name is Bussaraporn Thongchai. I am a freelance artist. I am based in Berlin working at a women’s shelter for migrant women and those who are affected by human trafficking.

Blue: Now for the audience who might not be familiar with Bussaraporn’s work, her works are well known in the Thai art world, mostly drawings and paintings such as the ones in the exhibits titled "My Sister and Other Ghosts" and "I am Not Your Holy Mother." Her latest works include a video piece displayed at the Bangkok Art Biennale called "Dear Family," and an installation piece called "When Silence Speaks" with the international collective Heroines Wave.

Today, we will be talking about her journey, her work, as well as how she left the Thai art world, went to Berlin and what it's like being back in Thailand doing an installation piece with Heroines Wave. We will be unpacking your journey and discussing the topics of art and activism.

I’d love to know about your drawing style, which is often linework depicting women’s bodies that are distorted, often touching on the topics of womanhood and gender. I am really curious how you found this style and where it comes from.

Bussaraporn Thongchai: I found this in my third year at Silpakorn University. However, there was always this need to express before then. It did not start on its own, it started from personal experience since childhood. My background really influences my art. I grew up in a family with a lot of issues. My parents fought a lot, would hurt each other, use force with one another. We were mostly women: I have three older sisters, my mother and my father was the only man. He was the one with the most power and he used that power to oppress others in the home.

When I was a child I couldn’t do anything. I knew that there was a problem but I couldn't find a way out for myself or for others. I tried to communicate with others with words but there was no use. So when verbal communication failed me, I used other forms of expression. I picked up drawing and went to university. I used art-making as a language of expression.

Blue: So it starts from the home with that feeling of being a child - this desire to communicate with your family to ask for safety. Was there a time when you were a child and you used art for protest?

Bussaraporn Thongchai: There is this piece that I feel is my first piece of art. I think I was in middle school and I drew on a whiteboard with a black marker showing my parents using force on each other, and I drew them as these black shadows. It still showed muscle, showed form, but they were both naked. I put the drawing in the middle of the home. I didn’t care if they saw or not, but I felt like I fulfilled my mission to communicate something. And when I went to university and I looked back I felt that - oh, so this is how I use art. Like you said, there was a characteristic of protest embedded in it.

Now, you were asking about form in my paintings, in my drawings. Mostly it’s women’s bodies. It's pretty straightforward. They are representations of my mother and my sisters. Why does it have to be naked women? I think that nudity is a way of challenging traditions and conventions. There is nothing covering your body and it becomes a representation of humanity that is most clear. The distorted body happened automatically, but if I were to analyse, I think it comes from all the feelings of unhappiness and anger since childhood.

Blue: I would love to unpack your works to understand your art-making process. You mentioned you take inspiration from your personal life. I would love to ask about your "All About Her" and "The Man Number Ten" series.

Bussaraporn Thongchai: ["All About Her" was] my first solo exhibition. So the origin of it is my family because it was the most influential component in my life, and I wanted to understand that. I wanted to understand the things in my life which have a lot to do with adultery, the sickness of my father, the conflicts in my family, and finally the death of my father and the conflicts between my mother and I.

Artwork by Bussaraporn Thongchai or naked women in a line, holding a penis
Credit: Silversalt Photography

Blue: Can you tell me about the death of your father, the other conflicts, and how it's all related?

Bussaraporn Thongchai: As I mentioned, my father was the oppressor of the house, but then he became sick and bedridden, and that changed the power dynamic. From someone who had the highest power, he became someone with no power at all. Before I hated my father because he was irrational, hurtful and oppressive to others. But one day when his power changed, he became someone with no power and it raised questions within me, and mostly it was about my mom and about how she committed adultery while he was bedridden.

Before, she was an angel to me and it caused the feelings I have for my mom to change. All the hatred for my dad moved to my mother. For someone that I looked up to, she was doing something that was wrong, so instead of hating my dad I hated my mother. It felt like a betrayal. It raised a lot of questions within me.

A lot of the teachings that were taught to me in school, by my parents, temples and religious institutions seem to be the opposite of what I find in real life. I saw the things taught to me break down in front of me, causing confusion and so many questions in my head. What was it that I believed? And what else do I have left to believe in? Thus, it became this set of work to seek answers.

Blue: There is this one painting that I remember so vividly in my head of two hunched-back ladies with stockings. One is a daughter the other a mother.

Bussaraporn Thongchai: I think that is not in "All About Her," but it is a piece that was created around that time. There is the theme of the relationship between mother and daughter between sisters. These are the representations of my family.

Blue: And the distorted bodies, the nudity that shows breasts, etc., is it mostly to talk about your mother and your sisters?

Bussaraporn Thongchai: It started with me. I thought of myself first then I started to paint my mother, my sisters and the distorted figures to reflect my distorted emotions because what was happening was distorting.

Blue: So are the non-ideal representations meant to be this representation of the disappointment you found in your mother?

Bussaraporn Thongchai: I think I didn't see the other people around me as real human beings fully. Because I was already taught that this is what good parents look like. What good kids mean. I know what the opposite looks like - I just never thought it’d happen to me and when it did, it caused a conflict within me, so I was trying to seek answers.

Artwork of two people crossed together between legs by Bussaraporn Thongchai

Blue: And what about "The Man Number 10?" This was done after your dad passed away?

Bussaraporn Thongchai: After the pieces talking about the family, I started exploring my own personal relationships. It started when my housemate - he saw so many guys going in and out - and he asked, how many boyfriends have you had? I counted and said nine, and then it caused me to think. When my friend heard, he laughed and I know he didn’t mean anything malicious. He was just like, "Wow, nine people?" It was just a lot. It was beyond his expectations and I don't know what his expectations were. Is it supposed to be less than? Is it just one or two? But his reaction was "Oh wow, so many!" and it caused me to ask myself is it really a lot? And why is it so? And why do I have so many relationships? What happened to me, is it really too much?

It inspired "The Man Number 10" as I was trying to understand why I was doing this and I expect it’s because I never received love from my father, so I am left to always seek love from the opposite gender, without pausing. I think it’s probably because of my father - not that I blame him, that it’s his fault - but it’s something that was missing within my life. So I called the piece "The Man Number 10" and that’s my father.

Blue: There are so many pieces I am really curious about. The painting of the woman puking up penises from her bowels - I am just curious and wondering if you were talking about shame about sex? When you translated your expressions into these works what do you think you were trying to talk about your relationships through these pieces?

Bussaraporn Thongchai: That piece I cannot remember the name, but I remember the piece. I talked about the many relationships in my life since I was 18 to my early 20s. There’s a repetition of what happened in my relationships. Because it's impossible to not have the feelings of sadness, hurt, anger, discomfort, or even vengeance in relationships. I saw myself recreating the feelings I had in my family and it leads me back to what happened to my mom at the time.

At the time I was judging her, questioning her when she was having that relationship with someone who was not my father. Why was I questioning her when I also recreated these things? I questioned her whereas my mom never questioned me, but instead gave me that freedom to explore and it allowed me to understand my mother as a human.

Artwork by Bussaraporn Thongchai of three strange shaped figures

Blue: As in with sexual needs and needs for intimacy?

Bussaraporn Thongchai: Yes, as a human with sexual needs and intimacy. With the need for love. Needs just like me, only that I was looking at her too much as a mother.

Blue: I see the pieces in "The Man Number 10" and I see shame, and almost a bit of anxiety around sex. I see myself a little bit in them because I feel that as a Thai woman you are engrained to have a lot of shame around sex; even in my generation, I am considerably very sexually active. If I were to count - sure maybe it’s nine. I never counted and when I talked to my friends, they felt like it’s a lot. I think I felt a lot of guilt around sex. Every time I have sex it’s something I need to really unlearn, even though intellectually I know it’s normal to have needs for sex and intimacy.

Bussaraporn Thongchai: Yes, it makes you think of multiple things around your family, your background and even our society’s conventions like the word you used - "unlearning." Those feelings are the same for me. I wanted to run away from that. Whatever was making me feel shame and guilt or uncomfortable. It made me scared or feel unstable in my heart.

It makes me question myself. So I was trying to understand what this is. Why do I feel like this or why do other people feel that way about the things that happened to me - why is it that my friend laughed when I told him I had many relationships and partners? Why did I feel guilty about getting an abortion? Why did I feel that my mom committed a sin? Why do I hate my father?

Blue: Most of the time it seems your works touch on topics of sex and womanhood. However, you mentioned in other interviews that you don't look at yourself as a feminist artist?

Bussaraporn Thongchai: I see myself more as a historian. I mean a historian that is familiar with oneself. I like mining things in myself. The attempt to try to understand what I am going through and to understand is to mine; to go back to where the roots come from. I think I find that this method is best for me to try to understand myself, to really mine my own personal history to understand my own present. I think this word is a good keyword for me.

At the time, I didn’t even understand the word feminist until I started doing art and went into the process of trying to understand myself and researching, then I realised that it was related. I never focused on who I am, but more that this is me trying to understand my own personal history.

Blue: I think many feminist artists go this route. There is this concept that says the personal is political and we would see this concept used multiple times. Even if it’s intended to be feminist or not. I was at this poetry seminar and they talked about how if a Muslim woman wrote about her sexual wants it is inherently political because she is using her space in a way that most people and society do not allow her to.

Bussaraporn Thongchai: I also think that the personal is political. There is nothing that works as a reflection of society as well as the human being. I think the personal is what reflects the larger system. Even the body, which is such a personal object, should always be ours, yet it is still controlled from childhood. Even with the way we are forced to dress, move, or position ourselves.

Even if we think that our body is the most private unit, it’s not even private. That’s the easiest example. So for me to say that, "Oh, this is a private issue, this is how we dress..." - for me, it’s just an attempt to segregate the personal from the political, so that it is easily controlled. I feel that when we see or understand this dynamic, we could be more aware of how power plays a role in our personal lives. If we try to really see, we would see how the power dynamic trickles down into the private, into our personal lives.

Blue: Yes, I agree it seeps into multiple parts of our lives. For example, I feel like as someone who grew up in Thailand, when I went to that exhibition you were at and I was sitting right behind you during the performance and I read: this body isn’t mine. And it’s a phrase that was in my own head all the time - even in my thesis, I used this phrase: I don’t feel at home in my body. I think there’s something in our society that makes so many women like me, like you, that makes us feel like this body isn’t ours. It constantly shapes and cuts us down, or dictates what sorts of rights I am entitled to.

Bussaraporn Thongchai: [Laughs.] You saw? That was one of the works I did for the Khon Kaen manifesto. So I know Ajarn Thanom Chapakdee, who created the Khon Kaen manifesto. I got the opportunity to do something and I asked to do a performance piece. I have always done paintings etc. but never performed. At the time I was thinking I wanted a tattoo. And I was thinking I was not sure what tattoo I wanted until this idea about the body came to me after I went abroad.

I am someone who still has to take care of my mother, meaning I have to send money back home and also take care of myself, and if my family needs help I am the only one who can help my family. But in the word "help" is also an obligation. There are times when I felt extremely tired, and it made me question why I have to do this. Who am I doing this for? At the time, I thought even though it’s my body, it felt like this isn’t my own.

I started doing work related to sex workers, I have friends who are sex workers and my older sister used to be a sex worker. When I started working at a women's shelter it made me see that the conditions in their lives are really bad. The work I have to do has good conditions whereas theirs work is considered illegal, so no one cares about their work conditions. Other than these issues, after they receive the money, the money is then sent to people at home; to their children, their relatives. I feel that their bodies, which are required to do these jobs, aren’t their own. It’s so clear it’s not theirs. They aren’t even able to demand better conditions for their bodies, while at the same time they have to use that very same body to create money to give to family. To others. Whereas they themselves are forced into such conditions, so I feel that the bodies of these people are not accounted for.

Black and white photo of artist Bussaraporn Thongchai drawing on paper
Credit: Jingjits Photography

Blue: It really makes you wonder that the human rights in our society have almost like criteria in order to qualify as a proper human. It's not even enough to have a body, you have to be the right kind of human to be worthy of being heard. Especially in our society, our traditions come before human rights. So if you do sex work it’s not aligned with societal value, so you don’t have the right to demand anything.

Bussaraporn Thongchai: It’s like the value of a person’s body has no value when that same body generates value but is also deemed worthless. So I think their bodies aren’t their own because they don't have the right to decide over their body. I know there are those who decide to do this, but there are women who feel that if they had a choice they would do something else. Not to say that this occupation is bad, but it depends on the working condition if it is fair or not.

Blue: Yeah no matter what, the conditions should be taken care of; as a person you have a right to be protected by the system. You have a human right to feel safe and to receive care.

Bussaraporn Thongchai: There's some sort of hidden power oppressing bodies, especially women’s. Especially daughters. Especially people who do these jobs. And so I thought of this phrase for my tattoo in both Thai and German. And in its own way, it's a form of protest again.

Blue: I think that as a Thai woman there’s so much to protest. The more I talk to you I really feel like we are in a society where traditions come before basic human rights because if we were talking ideally, being a person should be enough to receive respect and safety from harassment.

Bussaraporn Thongchai: Yeah, It’s like our body is someone else’s and someone asked me then whose is it? And I don’t know, but it does feel like it’s being controlled by these other unseen forces, definitely not my own. But by questioning, it’s not that I don’t know the rights over my body. Now I know very clearly that it’s me who owns my body. Deep down I know, but like the work that I do, this phrase was not only for myself but it protests for other bodies as well. It happens with my body and it went beyond me understanding the rights over my body already; that I am the owner of my body, but there are some conditions that I cannot be freed from completely. Like, for example, taking care of my parents - do I want to do this? Yes I do, but when I don't do it, why do I have to feel guilty?

It’s not like western culture - not to say that that is better, but to say that it’s different - where when they grow up, they only take care of themselves. In our society there are these issues and there are many women, including those in my hometown, who take on these responsibilities and many are happy to do it. But for me and even though I was raised similarly - for other people, they don't feel compelled to question, but I am someone who feels this way.

Blue: It makes me really think that the conversation around ethics is often through fear. For example, the idea of bad karma, of sin. I think good ethics requires freedom of choice outside coercion. Then the life of the society you are painting is something that's driven by fear, by coercion, rather than by what is right but being coerced indirectly.

Bussaraporn Thongchai: Exactly. If I have to do something, I feel like I have to do it because I decided it.

Blue: Like it’s a dimension of responsibility? That your deeds are yours, saying that I am taking responsibility for the consequences that come with it.

Bussaraporn Thongchai: For me, I still do these things but I do it out of my own intention and before it came from a feeling of obligation. Once I really broke it down, I understood it. To break down the conventions that tell me that I should do this with whatever religious, whatever conventional, reasons, shows me that it comes from this and this, and now I can really decide for myself what I really want.

And with this process, I apply it with everything else that I feel curious about; breaking it down and deciding whether or not I want to continue.

Blue: If we look at the larger picture of our society, the idea of democracy of ethics and what is right in a democratic system depends on every individual deciding for themselves - this is a society that I want and the word just is shaped by everyone, and by choice. Whenever that choice is coerced, it doesn't come from true choice; then it becomes a democracy that is distorted.

Bussaraporn Thongchai: Yeah I really understand what you mean now and what I am doing - it’s this attempt to really make it my choice. To decide whether it’s me and not what others told me to do, or making me feel like I had to.

Blue: I wanted to reflect back to your art that there’s this constant uprooting around sex; the family institution, the uprooting of all these rules. And you are recreating a new language to understand what it really is. To understand the power, the patriarchy, or even Buddhism, tells us that sex is a sin or that females shouldn't have needs. It reveals oppression and calls it oppression because wherever you go oppression is not always seen and understood.

It requires a lot of uprooting, it requires discussion. Like, for example, with sexism it became a norm. We are used to, for example, being a woman meaning to grow up to be a housewife and this might be a bit of a tangent, but I always think of my grandmother when it comes to this. I remember her to be constantly angry, but she’s really sweet and she loves taking care of people. But at the time she would nag a lot and when I was a kid I was really annoyed. Looking back, it made me realise that she was expected to do everything around the home, from cleaning to cooking; almost like this unseen labour in the home and because this labour is in the home, this oppression in the home, everyone takes as the norm. So it’s important to reveal and name oppression.

Bussaraporn Thongchai: This is what it means to make the personal political. If we unpack we would see that yeah, this is really political. This really is oppression, but it never felt like it was oppression because we thought it was the norm. And then it comes to a point where people adopt it as a tradition, which makes it a larger thing to uproot.

Blue: Something I think is very scary is sacredness because it creates a hierarchy with voices. It creates lines of what can be questioned, touched upon.

Bussaraporn Thongchai: And yes it becomes a silence. You know I feel like this is much more fun than talking about art [Laughs].

Blue: I think it’s the same thing though. It makes me sad that it’s segregated because I think that art is about using your voice and our societal, collective agreements are created through communication. It's about affirming your fellow humanity by recognising that you are worthy of being seen and heard, and I think art is about communicating that. It is too bad that art is purely commodified, soit’s not really uncoerced communication, but I think this is what our society is made up of, it’s this communication.

Bussaraporn Thongchai: And it goes back to that question that you raised what art for social activism means for me. In my head, I see the picture of one line. Where one point on the left is art and activism, and the other end on the right is the message they are trying to communicate. I think art - and this is not to say that the way activism communicates is not good or not effective - but the way art communicates is not always straightforward. It's the same information, but the way it's communicated is not the same and that's the charisma in art. I think using it in whatever context, even in activism, if we understand our intention then art would have so much meaning, it would have a really good function. It depends on the needs of society at the time and I think artists should be adaptive to what is occurring in society; you would have to ask what your role is. You have this tool, this weapon in your hand - how would you use it? When your society is this way would you use art as a tool for yourself or for society, or for whom? I think artists should understand what is happening, what is important and what is not.

Blue: The picture I see is the action of putting your ear to the ground in this issue of art and activism. Of listening to the collective consciousness to understand what's occurring in me that's occurring in society. It requires listening and reflecting. Once you are static, you are not honest with yourself; you are creating something hollow because you are not creating things that are true, but rather commercialised and not from flesh and blood.

Bussaraporn Thongchai: Not that it's wrong to do the other way, but really is it required? I am not asking for every artist to do art for activism and not expecting them to do it all their life, but until society changes, one should contribute. Not to say that you have to choose this path and go down this path constantly. I think it should be flexible to ask what is important and once society changes, and once you want to serve yourself, if society is better, your income would even be improved. Once people are better, have better welfare and better funding for art and culture, then you’d be able to create whatever art you want. But now if you create art that caters to the privileged, to the rich, while there are so many that do not have enough to eat, how could you continue?

I am saying this doesn't mean that I am rejecting the act of selling art. I do question that in myself too. I think when I was selling my work in Sydney I think I was lucky because the gallery was somewhere I could negotiate with. I said that if they are selling to a private collector can you let me know first because that set of work that I put out called "Pieces of Berlin" was about the women I met at the shelter. I negotiated that if it’s a private collector can I get to know them what they are interested in or are they just wanting to buy to create a profit? I would much rather see it in museums than for it to be in someone’s private collection because what I did is not something to decorate someone's home. Can it be in a museum, or if it really can’t, can I get to know the person to see if they care about the issue I represent? I also ask 10% to be donated for the shelter home that I am working at and the shelter home in Thailand that I got to know from the art collective I am a part of. And this is my mission - knowing that I can’t get out of the paradigm and I still need to be paid - this is what I do.

Blue: I don't think doing for society is a complete 100% sacrifice. I actually think that saving oneself the right way aligns with society’s needs.

Bussaraporn Thongchai: Yeah, it’s like what you said about protest in the individual dimension, but it is also at the same time a larger form of protest that allows this voice to come out to take up space and brings other people with you.

Blue: I agree. I think that when others drown we are still collectively drowning - if we are in a society that is unequal, even if we are privileged and above it. For example, gender inequality. If you are privileged, you don't have to go do things for your husband, but you might see sexism in the workplace, or like income inequality. If you are no longer in a privileged spot and you fall down from your class, you would still be in a system that won’t take care of you, where you really can’t fall because it's not equal.

Bussaraporn Thongchai: So it goes back to what we discussed about how if society changes, your life as an artist will get better. Why separate yourself from society in that way when you know that changes in society affect you and your livelihood?

Blue: Do you think it’s very segregated in the Thai art world?

Bussaraporn Thongchai: I think very much so. I know there are art pieces that talk about society, but in a way that’s shallow; it's still reproducing art for society that shows the shallow conflict of the rich and the poor with the same limited cast of characters.

Blue: Can you raise an example?

Bussaraporn Thongchai: Like, for example, talking about the powers of capitalism. Yes, it is there, but talking about how it makes people crazy, materialistic and it destroys the part of the mind of people that is beautiful, and talking about how materialism blinds people, etc.

Blue: To be honest not to be super anti-religio,n but I do think there is something about shame and when you talk about materialism in terms of that Thai Buddhist rhetoric of blind greed, I do think it’s strange. I feel like there's a slight reference to Buddhism in the way it is talked about in Thailand. I don't think it’s just blindness, it’s not personal blindness and the fault of this blindness is not a personal thing when it is a larger capitalist system that causes people to feel useless or require materials to feel good. Often, it ends with Buddhism telling you to go meditate.

Bussaraporn Thongchai: Or to go live according to the sufficiency economy.

Blue: Yeah exactly! I think the Thai Buddhism rhetoric can be dangerous because it segregates the personal from the political because even if you manage the greed in you, the broken system is still there and you can change, but when this greed is attributed to the individual, it makes people feel like it cannot be changed, but rather managed individually so no one is kept accountable.

Bussaraporn Thongchai: Yeah it's all about personal greed that’s the classic pattern rhetoric on this. Yeah, like you said about Buddhism, it's very clear that it got used with art that makes art segregated from society. Whenever art represents something beyond the status quo, it is labeled as sin.

Blue: Then it also goes back to the idea of personal responsibility. It really makes you question that true ethics comes from freedom of choice. When sin is individualised and not a societal responsibility, then we won't have to really change; or if we were to change, then it's hard. So, I feel like, with democracy, it requires people to use their voice and take up space, but once you have individuals who feel that everything around us cannot be changed, let's go meditate. Then it’s hard to create collective change.

Bussaraporn Thongchai: Yeah it's because of the larger structure that pushes people to not feel like they want to raise actual questions. Or even if it’s the way art gets taught to us. Art does have the ability to not just question, but checks abnormalities that exist within society.

Blue: There is this thing called the uncanny. There is this one researcher that analysed that all feminist artworks are fundamentally uncanny and the uncanny came from Freud, who is well known for his work with psychotherapy etc., which is mostly outdated, but influential. He outlined the concept of the uncanny, or the unheimlich, or the unhomely, which is defined as the unfamiliar found in the familiar. And it comes up, for example, when a female artist does protest art: we are bringing what is familiar that is oppressing to us and magnifying that, and questioning that. The process makes us realise that this norm is oppressive. Or even with your work that represents female bodies in a distorted way, it challenges the perception of the female form because we are used to witnessing the female form in a perfect way, but with your work you give them the space to exist. Giving them permission to decay. And so protest art by feminist artists is often uncanny because it pulls the abnormal in our norms, like the oppression that we can’t see, the hurt we can’t see, to the surface.

Bussaraporn Thongchai: I think that this hides in multiple women’s lives. These feelings really do exist, it's really something to think about - what art is for a lot of women. It’s like creating space for yourself and other people. To let your sense of self survive. If I were to call it breath it would be too dramatic, but I think it’s a requirement for me to make me feel alive. I don't think I am just living day by day - not that living day by day is bad but for me, it’s something that makes me feel alive. It gives me a sense of mission; like the fight is part of life, whether it's fighting within myself internally or externally.

Blue: The more I talk to you I really feel that you are such a brave artist because you go to places where people are probably afraid of going into themselves, like going to shame. I think it requires so much courage to look into the darkness within yourself and to say that this is my darkness, and it's a kind of fight.

Bussaraporn Thongchai: If you were to ask me, is it scary? It is scary. It’s not something that went smoothly. It is filled with scars and wounds, but it’s freeing. Whatever I understood as shame or as pain, whatever that I was too afraid to reveal for me, it became freeing.

[End music]

Blue: It’s really too bad that we have just an hour to talk, but it was such a fun discussion today. Thank you so much for giving us your time and unpacking your work with us.

Bussaraporn Thongchai: Thank you. Thank you, Blue, for giving me the chance to exchange ideas. Episode 2 I am ready - you can contact me.

Blue: [Laughs.] Sure! Thank you.

Bussaraporn Thongchai: Sawasdee ka

Blue: Sawasdee ka


By Blue Rachapradit

Blue is an aspiring illustrator, sometimes poet, living in Bangkok. She is the founder of The F Word art magazine and passionate about the intersection between arts and social activism. You can see more of her illustration as well as her poetry on Instagram at @thisbluecreature.


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