A ‘Pollination’ project
Featuring artists Maryanto (Yogyakarta) and Ruangsak Anuwatwimon (Bangkok)
Curated by ‘Pollination’ curators LIR (Yogyakarta) and Kittima Chareeprasit (Chiang Mai)
Organized by: The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre, Ho Chi Minh City
Co-sponsored by SAM Art & Ecology Fund and MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum
With thanks to this edition’s curatorial advisors: Agung Jennong and Vipash Puranichanayanont
‘The Hunters’ is an exhibition resulting from extensive collaborative research undertaken over the last 12 months beneath the volcanic activity of Mount Merapi, Yogyakarta; and along the increasingly dammed river routes of the lower Mekong, on the borders between Thailand and Laos. Prompted by the artistic languages and methods of chosen artists Maryanto and Ruangsak, Pollination curators LIR and Kittima have curated an exhibition where the practice of sustainable living provokes need of respect for the interdependent wisdom between the human and non-human worlds, evident in local forms of wisdom (or what the curators define as an ‘embodied’ knowledge).
Hosted by the MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum in Chiang Mai, both artists are creating new bodies of work, inspired by local folk-lore which share the lives of particular mythical ‘hunter’, comparing the ethos of such stories to our contemporary moment. Maryanto’s tent-like installations, composed of paintings in charcoal and earth, share local knowledge of living with respect for Nature and its spirits, concerned by the impact of illegal, corporate and government hunting of water and sand, beneath Mount Merapi (Maryanto’s home turf). Ruangsak’s varied installations beg acknowledgement of the many animals whose lives are jeopardized along the heavy damming of the Mekong, creating various diorama from their bones as monument to their spirits that once guarded this crucial waterway. Such projects are but the beginning of what will be presented, ultimately throwing into question the assumptions and illusions of resource and their landscape, critical of social reliance on instruments of science and technology, deeply aware of how their manipulation leads to ignorance, misinformation and greed.
As Maryanto and Ruangsak are compelled by the realities faced by local peoples living with such exploitation, the curators thus also intend to showcase the artistic research of each artist (photographic and film documentation; sketches, sound recordings and more), alongside a dedicated video interview between the artists unpacking their relationship to the idea of the ‘hunter’ and how this unveils in their respective artistic practices.
As further reflection on their overall ‘Pollination’ project, the curators share:
‘In March 2020, on the day of our first in-situ meeting for our Pollination project, in Bandung, the first Covid-19 case in Indonesia was announced. In Thailand, the announcement came a few weeks before. The crisis has escalated to a global pandemic, a global experience, highlighting not only the performance of systems and government capabilities in handling critical circumstances, but also in tandem revealing this pandemic is inextricably tied to the environmental crisis facing our earth. This illness, once confined to animals has been transmitted to humans, and has mutated into multiple different strains (invariably due to reckless human mobility). The virus could be seen as a form of retaliation imposed by the earth for our exploitation of its resources, reflecting the way in which humans have encroached upon, and violated nature as a ‘hunter’. As borders close and strict lockdowns are enforced, human mobility is restricted for safety concerns. Under such circumstances, our ‘Pollination’ project, focuses on our local geographical imaginations, digging deeper, primarily focusing on local embodied knowledge, seeking insight on how to balance human desire with its object, considering the impact of such ‘hunt’ on both human and non-human alike. We thus tried to find ways of ‘gathering’ knowledge from different bodies of lore by following the natural trails of rivers and mountains, sinking islands and backyard cemeteries, to home-gardening and sites of deforestation across South East Asia, and other comparable environmental issues closer to home’.
This third edition of ‘Pollination’, titled ‘Of Hunters & Gatherers’, whose research began pre-pandemic in 2020, is composed of an exhibition, symposia and dedicated website:
Exhibition opening 19 March 2021 @ MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum (Chiang Mai)
Symposia (online) from 28-30 May 2021, co-hosted by Selasar Sunaryo Art Centre (Bandung) and The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre (Ho Chi Minh City)
Dedicated website launching 28 May, 2021
With contributions by Tita Salina, Sutthirat Supaparinya, Prilla Tania, The Forest Curriculum, and Wut Chalanant (artists); Elizabeth D. Inandiak, Adam Bobbette, JJ Rizal, and Napak Serirak (writers, academics); alongside ‘Pollination’ participants Maryanto and Ruangsak Anuwatwimon (artists) and LIR and Kittima Chareeprasit (curators). Edited by Zoe Butt and Lee Weng Choy.