|HISTORY & MEMORY
Buddhism may be the state religlon, but it could be said that our true faith Is oblivion. In terms of historical perceptlon, most of us are potted plants In a white room, devoid of context, unconnected wlth our roots. Whole chapters linking us to the past have been blacked out from our consciousness. Whole month's worth of newspapers from the year 1945 and 1946 are missing from the National Library's archives.
Deliberate sabotage and censorship aside, the Thai propensity to "let bygones be bygones", to preserve the appearance of peace at any price, encourages collective amnesia and therefore ignorance. We do not know our own past; how can we know ourselves? No wonder we're suffering so grotesquely from an identity crisis.
Only one version of history is taught in Thai classrooms. Hlstory textbooks are written by politicians, in order to serve their political, interests. The very characteristics of so-called "Thainess" are specified by a government body actually named the 'National Identity Board'. It seems that the aim of every history lesson is not to enlighten, but to brainwash and tame us into a flock of identical sheep, obedient and simple-minded, easy to rule. To ensure that we do not raise uncomfortable questions over issues and events that our good shepherds prefer us to forget.
As one Italian writer says (and they should know), "WIthout memory, there is no future." Not knowing where we have been and how we got here, today we cannot truly fathom where and how we are, and which way to proceed wlthout falling back down the same old abyss.
Wlthout history and memory to be our compass, we are doomed to walk in circles, Iost in admiration of the same old absurdities. This darkness clings upon us like a curse. We seem destined to repeat the same mistakes forever.
Meanwhile, any attempt to revive the past or to present an alternative version of Thai history that differs markedly from the official one is usually decried as "provocative agitation. deliberately causing unnecessary conflicts in society by reopening old wounds". Nevertheless, all three artists taking part In this exhibition firmly believe that their intent is to be creatively constructive, in an effort to do their part, however small, in the healing of our society.