For this year’s SPRING/BREAK Art Show, curator Alexandra Fanning is pleased to present a single-artist booth of work by Thai-Australian artist Kawita Vatanajyankur. The selection will showcase work developed by the artist while living in Melbourne, Australia; exploring psychological, social and cultural ways of viewing and valuing difference, particularly regarding the labor of women’s work.
Titled ‘Rituals of Otherness’ Vatanajyankur’s “moving paintings” or video-performance pieces explore everyday and domestic work, daily chores which, in her homeland of Thailand, aren’t always assisted by electronic contraptions or white goods but are time-consuming, physically exhausting, and often the task of women.
The pieces chosen for this show were developed while the artist was residing in Australia, where her feeling of being the “other” was amplified and she explored the variances of custom, expectation and traditions of her life in Thailand to those of Australians. On her return to Thailand at a later age, she discovered that she was unskilled in the everyday needs and requirements of a “respectable” Thai women. Caught in-between two very different cultures, Vatanajyankur started to question her own identity, questioning where she stood in society, and definitions of femininity.
Vatanajyankur’s work illustrates the relationship between the female body and domestic objects. Referencing seventeenth century images of European women performing repetitive and arduous tasks, the artist turns her own body into a tool, mechanized and monotonous. She parodies the pervasive slippage between human and machine, and spotlights the forgotten body within a technologically accelerating world.
Kawita Vatanajyankur (b.1987, Thailand) graduated from RMIT University (BA, Fine Art) in 2011. In 2015 she was a finalist in the Jaguar Asia Pacific Tech Art Prize and curated into the prestigious Thailand Eye exhibition at Saatchi Gallery, London. In 2017, her work was featured in the ALAMAK! Pavillon during the 57th Venice Biennale. Vatanajyankur has exhibited widely across Australia, as well as Asia and Europe. Vatanajyankur’s work is held in private collections in Australia, Asia, Europe and America. She has been featured in the New York Times, Brooklyn Rail, Nylon Magazine, Interview, Artnet News, and others.