30 printmakers reinforce ties between Australia and Thailand – in pictures

An exhibition at Mosman Gallery in Sydney extends the ongoing dialogue between Australian and Thai contemporary printmakers.

“Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand” brings together 30 artists in an exchange of printmaking that began in 1992. Through diverse practices, the works consider what it is to be an artist in contemporary society.

Ben Rak ‘Perceive-Conceive (American Soldier Bobble)’, 2013, screenprint, 105 x 55 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Ben Rak, ‘Perceive-Conceive (American Soldier Bobble)’, 2013, screenprint, 105 x 55 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

“Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Gallery from 9 May to 12 July 2015, is the third stop in a tour that included PSG Gallery in Silpakorn University in Bangkok and Canberra’s Australian National University. Featuring artists from Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Canberra and Sydney selected by three curators, the exhibition recognises the long history of collaboration between the two countries.

History of printmaking exchanges

This tradition of exchange in printmaking between Thailand and Australia began in 1992 with a tour of contemporary Australian prints to Thailand. Since then there have been many exhibitions and residency programmes between the two countries, some facilitated by institutions and others through personal connections. In one such example, Thai artist Kitikong Tilokwattanotai worked closely with Cicada Press, an educationally focused custom-printing workshop at the University of NSW in Sydney, and took their model back to Thailand where he established Chiangmai Art on Paper (CAP Studio).

Kitikong Tilokwattanotai, ‘Untitled’, 2014, etching, 100 x 70 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Kitikong Tilokwattanotai, ‘Untitled’, 2014, etching, 100 x 70 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

As lead curator Somporn Rodboon notes:

Many of the artists in “Interchange” have already established strong and on going ties and understand the value of the relationship between Australia and Thailand. Moreover, through “Interchange”, the participating artists promote an increased understanding in the scope and complexity of our respective cultures and the value of further dialogue between our artists in the future.

A reflection on Thai culture

Thai curator Somporn Rodboon selected ten artists from Bangkok and Chiang Mai whose work examines socio-political commentaries and ecological concerns, drawing from their distinct life experiences and cultural backgrounds. From Ammarin Kuntawong’s stylised images of his favourite places to Vimonmarn Khanthachavana’s self-referencing photographic imagery, the artists reflect upon their environment through diverse techniques.

Ammarain Kuntawong, ‘Bush town’, 2014, etching, 70 x 100 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Ammarain Kuntawong, ‘Bush Town’, 2014, etching, 70 x 100 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

stamping, 70 x 100 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Vimonmarin Khanthachavana, ‘Pincusion in Hand’, 2013, woodblock, offset and
stamping, 70 x 100 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Thai artists in the exhibition are:

  • Opus Chomchuen
  • Kade Javanalikikorn
  • Vimonman Khanthachavana
  • Sutee Kunavichayanont
  • Srijai Kuntawang
  • Yanawit Kunchaethong
  • Ammarin Kuntawong
  • Amorntep Mahamart
  • Wittamon Niwattichai
  • Kitikong Tilokwattanotai
Sutee Kunavichayanont, 'Reversed motherland', 2014, etching, 100 x 57 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Sutee Kunavichayanont, ‘Reversed Motherland’, 2014, etching, 100 x 57 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Established and emerging artists from Canberra unite

Curator Patsy Payne selected Canberra-based emerging and established artists who tackle contemporary political issues. Surya Bajracharya alludes to the asylum seeker debate, Alison Alder to the “humane” weapons of the twenty-first century, while others make references to consumerism. These diverse themes are united by a dedication to contemporary printmaking.

Surya Bajracharya, 'In your hands', 2014, screenprint, 112 x 106 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Surya Bajracharya, ‘In Your Hands’, 2014, screenprint, 112 x 106 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

In an essay on the works, Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centre Director Joseph Falsone observes that:

The works divide roughly along political, expressive and symbolic lines, but are united by a shared awareness of printmaking’s inherent possibilities, and by a commitment to printmaking as a vital and evolving strand of contemporary art.

Canberra artists in the exhibition are:

  • Alison Alder
  • Surya Bajracharya
  • G. W. Bot
  • Ingeborg Hansen
  • Nicci Haynes
  • Alex Lewis
  • John Loane
  • Patsy Payne
  • John Pratt
  • Bernie Slater

Artists from Sydney respond to space

The ten artists from Sydney, chosen by artist Michael Kempson, respond to Australian social and geographical space. The works range from a journey along the Indo-Australian and Pacific continental plates by Fiona Hall, to Martha McDonald Napaltjarri’s claim to belonging through dreaming and exploring the history of her environment.

Fiona Hall 'Lying in the Dark', 2011, aquatint, open-bite and screenprint, 51 x 101 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Fiona Hall, ‘Lying in the Dark’, 2011, aquatint, open-bite and screenprint, 51 x 101 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Martha McDonald Napaltjarri, ‘Warlukuritji’, 2013, aquatint, 55 x 66 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Martha McDonald Napaltjarri, ‘Warlukuritji’, 2013, aquatint, 55 x 66 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

As artist and writer Anthony Springford explains:

Drawing on the technical methods of printmaking, these artists show us the landscape as a surface written into, incised, scarred, and gouged by conflicting stories.

Vernon Ah Kee, 'ABC', 2012, aquatint, 32 x 31 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Vernon Ah Kee, ‘ABC’, 2012, aquatint, 32 x 31 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Elisabeth Cummings 'Flinders Farm', 2009, etching, aquatint, open-bite and scraping, 34 x 54 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Elisabeth Cummings, ‘Flinders Farm’, 2009, etching, aquatint, open-bite and scraping, 34 x 54 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Sydney artists in the exhibition are:

  • Vernon Ah Kee
  • Elisabeth Cummings
  • Fiona Hall
  • Rew Hanks
  • Michael Kempson
  • Euan Macleod
  • Martha MacDonald Napaltjarri
  • Joshua Parry
  • Ben Rak
  • Adeel uz Zafar
Michael Kempson, 'East and West', 2014, etching and aquatint, 68 x 101 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Michael Kempson, ‘East and West’, 2014, etching and aquatint, 68 x 101 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Claire Rosslyn Wilson

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Related topics: museums, Australian artists, Thai artiststouring exhibitions, gallery showsprintmaking, picture feasts, events in Sydney

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