Are we doomed to repeat the past, or can we learn from it? This is the question posed by the works of Thai artist Verapong Sritrakulkitjakarn. In nearly a hundred large-scale paintings, he makes montages of different moments in time. His epic and irreverent style offers unique snapshots of history.
Sritrakulkitjakarn’s works resemble battle paintings: they’re dark, crowded, and full of tension. Oversized characters dominate the scene; they represent values such as persistence, honor, and bravery. But these goliath figures are set alongside flashy signs of modern life and consumerism, pop elements that create a striking contrast of values and aesthetics—its a reflection of our existence and the diversity of human values.
我们是注定重蹈覆辙，还是会借鉴历史？这是泰国艺术家 Verapong Sritrakulkitjakarn 在作品中提出的问题。在近百幅大型油画作品中，他以蒙太奇的手法，糅合不同时代的元素，呈现史诗式的另类绘画风格，如同一幅幅独特的历史故事快照。
Born in Bangkok in 1982, Sritrakulkitjakarn grew up fascinated by Japanese manga. “Manga stories are funny, adventurous, and powerful,” he says. He went beyond just reading them, but drew fan art of his favorite characters and formed his own plots. It’s an interest that hasn’t faded, evidenced by the iconic manga characters, such as Anpanman and Doraemon, that appear in his work to this day.
Bangkok is also a constant source of inspiration for him. Sights such as the city’s forts, stupas, and even 7-Eleven signs can be found throughout his work. “Many things catch my eye in the streets,” he says.“I find it interesting how such diverse elements stand side by side.”
Verapong 于 1982 年出生于曼谷，自小就对日本漫画很入迷。“漫画故事既搞笑，又有各种冒险和震撼人心的力量。”他说。阅读漫画之余，他还会为自己喜欢的角色创作同人作品，自己构想新的故事情节。直到今天，他对漫画的热情丝毫未减，这在他的作品中就能看出：经典的漫画角色（例如面包超人和哆啦 A 梦）依然常常出现在他的作品中。
对他来说，曼谷是一座赋予他无穷灵感的城市。从城堡、佛塔，到 7-11 便利店都是他创作的元素。“我觉得街上有很多有意思的东西。不同的事物并肩而立，实在很有趣。”他说。
Global news is another topic of interest. His paintings can be dated by identifying the events he includes. In one piece from 2019, he depicts the Notre Dame Cathedral fire; in others, he references the Syrian refugee crises through the imagery of weeping babies and helpless children.
“Poverty and tragedy are always reappearing throughout history,” Sritrakulkitjakarn says. But he doesn’t see his work as being pessimistic. “I’m merely noting facts and recurrences in history.”
Closer scrutiny reveals new details and hidden meanings. Insects, birds, and mammals point to the diversity of life on this planet, multiple fossils put the length of civilization into perspective, and the recurrent appearance of clocks remind viewers of the inexorable march of time.
国际新闻也是他关注的议题。只消看他画中所描绘的事件，就能推断出创作日期。在 2019 年完成的一幅作品里，他画了巴黎圣母院大火的事件；叙利亚的难民危机时，他还画过哭泣的婴儿和无助的小孩以反映时事。
Sritrakulkitjakarn doesn’t sketch or create drafts. He begins each work with an outline of the main character, done using his paintbrush. Over the course of about two weeks, he fills in the other elements. His technique varies, and some aspects are more realistic and three-dimensional, while others are bright and flat. “It’s an efficient way of discerning what’s real and what’s an illusion,” he says.
As if crowning his creations, Sritrakulkitjakarn adds wooden frames, which he cuts and carves himself. These frames, etched with symbols like closed fists, religious stupas, masonic eyes, and even smiley faces, are extensions of the canvases.
Joined together, these individual works look like a continuous panel. They offer a snapshot of the past, a mirror of the present, and a glimpse into the future. Sritrakulkitjakarn asks viewers to take a critical look at the world we live in, a world where crisis, intolerance, and division are slowly becoming the norm. “Things are not just good or bad, black or white,” he says. “We must look at the bigger picture.”
Contributor: Tomás Pinheiro
Chinese Translation: Olivia Li