Hello! My name is Yen Lin, and I am a visual artist in Singapore who has teamed up with a Thai artist called Maitree Siriboon, to create an artist residency-cum-homestay in his village hometown, Nong Bo, in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand.
We plan to use the arts to open up his village to the "global village" (i.e. the rest of the world), and this Nong Bo Art House residency is the beginning! We wish to develop this abandoned traditional Isaan wooden house into a habitable homestay with an attached art studio space. We then wish to alternate housing local village artists (from Isaan) and international artists (from overseas), and provide a platform where we can use art to engage conversation with the local villagers, and create something spectacular -- a sustainable intercultural experience that no one will forget.
This project also supports Maitree's dream of turning his village into a center for arts and culture, which will invigorate this medium-sized village of 1500 families, and provide it with a new source of financial income (be it through increased tourist dollar or funds raised through art), as the traditional farming culture in the village is increasingly threatened by wider political and economic forces within Thailand. Each artist who stays (for a period of 1-3 months) will also be requested to donate one work to Nong Bo Art House, which can then be exhibited/sold in yearly fund-raiser shows, to keep the residency self-sustaining.
As a city girl born and bred in Singapore for the last 27 years, and Maitree himself being a village boy who has then lived and worked in Bangkok for the past 20 years, we are fascinated by the interplay of rural and urban culture, and wish to play our part to bridge the gap between the two worlds. There is so much to learn and to understand about those who seem to be on the "other side of the fence"! We hope to use the arts, through this project, to enrich minds and hearts through meaningful collaboration. :)
Funded by Singapore (November 2017)