When I met Maitree Siriboon in Bangkok I misunderstood his name and thought it was Mytree. He showed me his photoart. One photo showed him sitting on a tree in my beloved Isan, the North East of Thailand. Thius was the way I found the title of his exhibition.
The opening was a dionysic event and finshed in KAOS Club around the corner from MUMU at 6 o’clock in the morning. That belongs to art as well!
Artist Maitree Siriboon was born and raised in a rural village in Ubonratchatanee, Isarn, before moving to Bangkok 10 years ago to study art, first at the College of Fine Art and later at Silpakorn University where he received his Bachelors in Fine Art. Maitree is the recipient of numerous national awards among them the Bangkok Bank Art Award and the Silpakorn Pradit Award. His art has featured in The Nation, Elle, Contemporary Magazine, and Art Asia Pacific. Maitree’s early collage work draws from his boyhood in Isarn, transforming an often forgotten people into a source of profound beauty. His childhood landscape permeates his art, a colorful two dimensional text filled with trees, rice paddies, farmers, and water buffalo. More recently Maitree has began working with photo, and his series „Isarn Boy Dream“ invites foreigners into his childhood home of Nong-Boa, placing them against backdrops of rice fields, tractors, haystacks, and inside local sculling boats. His newest exhibition, „My Tree„, returns to one of his early themes, his personal relationship with Isarn and its natural landscape.
The „Tree“ by Maitree is an amazing mosaik with many animals and plants of his homeland in Isan.
I’m an Isarn Boy who dreams of making art that heals the world both naturally and spiritually. I am proud of my home, Isarn, and for my ability to mesh old and new with my „Isarn Boy Dream“ photo project. My artistic dream is to combine foreigners with local Isarn villagers, to make a new world that fuses trees, rice paddies, the rivers, and people from different backgrounds. I want to bring foreigners closer to Thailand’s sometimes forgotten lives and environment. 60% of Bangkok Thais are from Isarn, which means that although foreigners and other „Isarn boys“ interact on a daily basis, it’s understandably hard for foreigners to envision these same Thais in their childhood settings.
My home, Ubonrathchantani, gave me life as a child. Now, I am returning with my foreign friends to show them my dream of keeping the beauty of my childhood home fresh and preserved for future generations. Every night I feel Isarn when I sleep: the birds, butterflies and the small miracles that happened in my village. I hope to show „Isarn Boy Dream“ in Bangkok and outside Thailand so that people can experience Isarn and Thai art in a way that goes beyond the guidebook. Thanks.
I first met Maitree Siriboon in 2007 at ‘White Space’, a gallery where he works as a curator in Bangkok. He was presiding over the opening of one of his colleagues from Silpakorn University with whom he had studied. I misunderstood his name and wrote it down as ‘My tree’ in my notebook. “What a special name for an artist,” I thought.When we talked about a name for his exhibition at ‘Mu Mu’ Maitree immediately responded, “My Tree.”Soon afterwards he showed me the pieces he wanted to present, an ambitious work he began creating in 2545 (2003). And I knew he was right.
We all know that without trees we would suffocate. Trees are important symbols in all cultures that harbor a multitude of both spiritual and pragmatic meanings – from Buddha trees to animistic tree festivals. Trees clean the air, give shelter to all sorts of creatures – birds, snakes, even jungle-boys, and represent nature through their colors that change with the seasons. Its wood is used to create exciting forms of design – from furniture to Khmer Buddha sculptures – and wood gives warmth when its burnt.
Did you ever embrace a tree, make it your friend and sit under its holy shelter?Maitree undoubtedly did. This artist knows about the mystery of a tree’s shadow and light, a personal experience he reflects in this work. Only 24 years old, Maitree is already showing himself to be one of Thailand’s most gifted talents. He is a true Isan-Boy full of life, humor and unrelenting creativity, like a fertile paddy field containing all the elements of life.
“My Tree”is an exhibition you will not easily forget. His glass mosaic works (‘Buk Seaw Tree’, ‘Queer as Folk’ ) are rooted in Laos traditions. In them you will come to appreciate Maitree’s reflections of life’s joy and greatness. But as we all know life is not only pure happiness. Those moments have their price. To give life to his astonishing pictures Maitree sacrificed a lot of his own blood. Cutting the glass, arranging it to create a beautiful atmosphere of a tree and its surroundings, and transforming hundreds of broken, sharp, finger and nail cutting shards into art was a painful process.
Though we cannot see or feel for ourselves the painstaking effort that went into “My Tree”, we can revel in the fruits of his labor. He has left me with a melody of sweetness that resonates with me every time I stand before his creation.
Maitree’s “ My Tree” is a masterpiece.
Detlev F. Neufert
Just to give an impression how big Maitrees work is. The mosaiks were amazing when they changed their colours with the different lights.
For every exhibition and artist Khun Wee, DFN called him Oui, arragened a special flower decoration in the gallery. The night before they went to the flower market at the Rama 4 bridge. And while DFN drank a beer at the peer and admired the beautiful temples on the other side of the Chayo Praya River Khun Wee disappeared in the daily flower market. Not many tourists come there because it openes late in the night when the sun and the heat of the day have gone. One or two hours or one or two beers later Oui came back with exclusiv flowers and both went to the shops to collect the rest.
Oui arranged the whole night long his ideas of the artists world. Mostly shortly before the vernissage began he was ready. He had worked for 20 hours without sleeping.
The result was a dedication to the artist and to MUMU and its guests.
For the opening of Maitree f.e. he arranged the leaves of lotus flowers with little mosaiks, candles in some drops of water and a lotus blossom. The gallery looked like a magic island in Isan with all the lights of the candles and the colourful sparkling of the glass mosaics of Maitrees art.
OPENING PARTY IN KAOS CLUB 5 min. from MUMU arthouse away.
The opening parties of MUMU at KAOS CLUB had soon become a highlight in Bangkoks party and art scene. A scene that has many choices in a city like Bangkok where you can party through your whole life.
Mostly between 200 and 400 guests came to MUMU’s openings. All ages and different social levels. From students to bankers, from neighbours to ambassadors. And believe it or not they all joined the crazy parties at KAOS CLUB after the official vernissage.
Maybe one of the reasons why MUMU arthouse became in a very short time one of Bangkok’s top three galleries was its complete dedication to the artists, the guests and the cultural life of Bangkok.
„MY TREE“ was the first single exhibition of Maitree Siriboon. Now he is a well-known and respected artist of Thailand who is invited to international exhibitions and famous museums collect his work.