For the launch, we had an exhibition at the Jim Thompson Gallery. We we’re grandly described as the “curators” of this rather lovely event.
The James H. W. Thompson Foundation very kindly gave us a grant which paid for Muangsing’s illustrations, and provided Silkworm Books with a small subsidy on the costs of publication. We are very grateful to Bill Klausner and Bill Booth. The Foundation also suggested we should curate an exhibition at the Jim Thompson Gallery at the time of the launch. This was great fun.
The real work was done by Khun Jeab, Gridthiya Gaweewong, who runs the Jim Thompson Art Center.
We designed a display on the development of the poem over several centuries. This ran down the middle of the room. Jeab managed to borrow a selection of Hem Vejakorn’s famous illustrations from Khun Boonchai Bencharongkul. She commissioned a series of photos of locations in the poem. She found examples of the clothing described in famous passages. She arranged a program of lectures and performances in association with the exhibition (see the posts on “The Return of Wanthong” and “Mounting Color of Mist”). We were grandly billed as the “curators” but our contribution was quite small.
We insisted on one exhibit: there should be a display of an eye-level shrine. Most people do not know what these once looked like as the meaning of the Thai phrase has changed. We had put a lot of effort into finding out what these shrines once looked like. Jeab’s team were not really as excited about this idea as the other parts of the exhibit, but they went along with it, and produced a superb shrine on the gallery’s balcony, complete with the offering of a real piglet (later replaced with a model).
Both Bill Klausner and Khun Boonchai gave little speeches to open the event.
The playwright Pradit Prasartthong brought along his cast “The Return of Wanthong” in full rig.
[The original post, done in 2011, was lost when the site went down in 2013. Here it has been recreated in 2016, but with less detail.]