Four years in the making, a book and photographic exhibition by Spanish-born photographer Xavier Comas lifts the ancient roof of a storied Narathiwat building to glimpse the checkered historical narrative of Thailand’s southern region.
Catalan photographer Xavier Comas, a fine arts graduate of the University of Barcelona, says he relies on chance to create his works, using photography accompanied with writing to illustrate the bonds he builds with people and places. His images have been published and exhibited in Europe and Asia, and have featured in prominent magazines throughout the world.
In order to create his most notable work to date, Comas immersed himself in Thailand’s troubled southern provinces for over a year. The resulting black and white photographs form the content of his first book, ‘The House of the Raja – Splendour and Desolation in Thailand’s Deep South’.
The collection of images, taken in and around the home of one of the last Malay Muslim rulers of the old Kingdom of Patani, is sometimes unsettling, often haunting and always thought-provoking.
Of the project Comas says, “When I first visited Thailands Deep South, I knew nothing about its history. I wandered aimlessly, always trying to see beyond the ongoing conflict, until I came across this mysterious house that seemed, somehow, more than just a building. This was a sanctuary of light and shadow; a poignant reminder of the solitude and memories carved in the region’s divided soul, trapped in limbo, yearning for its forgotten splendour, held captive by its desolation. The house urged me to look into the past.
I would have never imagined that after crossing its threshold, and as the outside world closed behind me, it would draw me into the depths of my consciousness.”
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