Death is a part of life, not the opposite of it. Yet accepting death—or rather accepting loss—can be one of the most difficult acts we as humans ever endure. “I’m getting used to the loss, I can handle it very well,” claims Rattapoom Piwpantamit, the artist whose series of oils on canvas wrestle with the meaning of death and suffering in life. “The [hardest thing] is to look at suffering in the eyes of the ones you love most. The longer we live, the more experiences like this we have to face.”
It’s a challenging topic to examine through painting. And yet, with a style demarcated by muted colours and subtle but obvious imagery—skulls, Caesar, a croaked toad—Rattapoom does just that. It helps that, to express his conflicted emotions, he has drawn on time he spent in hospitals by the side of family members. “The past few years I’ve had to spend mostof my days in the hospital, even sit and stay awake until dawn [a couple of times],” he admits. “In the darkness, I’m free. I can see every shadow, all the blinking lights, hear the quiet sounds. It’s so empty it leads me to think.”
What the artist has found in the shadows is a twisted ball of emotion, growing like a lump inside of him. Despite his attempts to return favours bestowed upon him by taking care of his ailing loved ones, helping them shower and cleaning up after them, the artist still experiences frustration.
The first part of a series of paintings, MISGIVING (Part 1) byRattapoom Piwpantamit is on display at Number1gallery until December 26.