Thailand lost well over 40 artists this year, including several well-known film stars, musicians, traditional artists and writers. Thanom Chapakdee built a career that spanned activism, art criticism and theory and arts education. His tireless efforts to decentralise power led him to co-found Khon Kaen Manifesto, a biennale that included artists rejected by the Bangkok Art Biennale and Thailand Biennale. Thanom was 64 years old when he passed away. The sudden death of Kriengsak “Victor” Silakong, a beloved figure in the Thai film industry, shocked film lovers. He was best known for his work as the director of the World Film Festival of Bangkok. He also had a love for the stage and directed several theatre productions. TV star Nida Patcharaveerapong held lead roles in several Thai dramas before she was tragically killed in a speedboat accident at the age of 37. Wat Wanlayangkoon, a fearless poet and novelist, passed away in exile in France, where he had fled to escape persecution after the 2014 military coup.
When an artist or cultural worker passes away, the loss is felt by their families and loved ones and by the wider arts and cultural community in the region. As we mourn their passing, we remember, and are comforted by the legacy of their creativity and their contributions to their local and national arts communities, as well as to Southeast Asian arts practices.
In the first of an annual series, ArtsEquator commemorates the artists and cultural practitioners lost across Southeast Asia in 2022. This year, we focus on Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and The Philippines, with plans to expand the series to other countries in Southeast Asia next year.
Image credit: Facebook/Thanom Chapakdee
Image credit: Facebook/Thai Movie Posters
While we have done our best to be as comprehensive as possible, if there are artists or cultural workers we have missed in our list, please do add their names in the comments section, with links where possible, and we will update the article accordingly. The layout for this series and the image treatment was designed by Jun Kit.