Project Sustainability Updates: River Health in Thailand

We received updates from the American Arts Incubator participants in Thailand! Here's what they've been up to since the exchange wrapped up in July (submissions have been edited for length and clarity).

Make It Clear

We believe that water resources and the community nearby are deeply connected and affected by one another. Therefore we are designing an activity project with the khlong Ladprao community called the "Ice Breaking Board Game." It is a new media board game which interacts with body movements and sounds. This is ideal for building better understanding about water resources within the community and making a better relationship among them. We tried our best to apply our artistic knowledge to bring concrete benefits to society.

Ice breaking #1. Photo courtesy of Chalida Asawach.

Expected results for the community:

  • Everyone works together as a team
  • The activity project will be fun, relaxed, and knowledgeable
  • Building better understanding of the importance of water resources
  • Reducing tension in the khlong Ladprao community for those who have to move to a new place

Ice breaking #2. Photo courtesy of Chalida Asawach.

River Voices

Our group met a new possible collaborator, Valerie, at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center in July. She was a museum art director in the USA and had recently joined the Peace Corps. Her project goal is to send Americans to help other countries.

She is currently helping a school in Thailand as an English teacher. Her school is called the Wat Thammajariya school, which currently has 290 students. Her goal is to do art in her school for her students. Since we are looking for a place to make community art about the river, we think it would be perfect for us to visit her school.

Meeting Valerie. Photo courtesy of Chawanan Inkumnoi.

We went to her school and had a meeting with the principal and teachers. They came up with the idea of having secondary school students M.1 - M.3 (12- to 15-year-olds) do the activity, which they can then later organize for younger students in the school. We would have three camps with 30 students at a time, and students would rotate around.

Outside gathering. Photo courtesy of Chawanan Inkumnoi.

These are the camp ideas:

  1. Bio camp: inspect small living organisms in the river
  2. Chemical camp: inspect pH - EO - DO values in the river
  3. Art activity: make art sculptures or drawings from river pollution

Canal view. Photo courtesy of Chawanan Inkumnoi.

We also visited the canal, and it's quite clean compared to Ladprao community's. There is some trash floating but only in one area. Their community has a trash bank program where people in the community sort the waste and sell them, but it just has started.

The Cleansing of a Canal

We did a workshop with the community in August. Many youngsters and a few adults joined us. The workshop was developed to uncover participants' ideas of what kind of community art project they would like to make. Our aim is that this project would be beneficial to the community in their eyes, not from an outsider's perspective. In the workshop, we guided the participants to dig deep into the urgent needs of their community and revealed what their skillsets are, what skills they want to obtain, and what they're interested in.

Workshop at the Ladprao community. Photo courtesy of Oak Chanakot.

We found out that they would like to have more source of income, tutors for children, and ease the general sadness from the fact that some of the community members will not be able to live there in the future. They are interested in technology and social media. They enjoy drawing, gardening, and many types of sports.

Visit to the Ladprao community. Photo courtesy of Oak Chanakot.

In our next workshop in September, we will guide them to combine these elements into an art project that truly reflects their own community.


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