Bangkok-based Jakkai Siributr (b. 1969) is known as a textile artist. However, his practice is less defined by medium than by ideas pertaining to Thai society as it confronts 21st century reality. Startled by the Kingdom’s transformation after his return from a decade’s study overseas in the early 2000s, Jakkai, like other seminal artists of his generation, is particularly aware of the great cultural and political shifts that have taken place since the end of the Vietnam War. The 1980’s and 1990’s in Thailand were marked by increased urbanisation and the rise of consumer society, which in turn awoke new aspirations and searches for voice. Today, materialism, political instability, the future of the Thai monarchy, the evolving place and content of Buddhism, communal strife, and growing frictions between rural and urban populations, are central preoccupations in the Thai Kingdom. These are the themes that find their way into Jakkai’s idiosyncratic practice.
While not exclusively drawn to needle-work techniques and textile, Jakkai has gravitated toward cloth and stitching in recent years, for their ability to act as conceptual clues extending and underpinning his ideas. The softness and delicacy of tapestries and three-dimensional thread- based works serve as a foil for his exposés of political corruption, transforming beliefs, and cultural frictions. This juxtaposition of material fragility, references to traditional Southeast Asian handicraft, and raw subject matter centering on a Thailand in flux, conveys a quiet tension that lends a critical subtext to his pieces.
Beyond his gallery shows in Southeast Asia and USA, Siributr’s work has been included in exhibitions at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco (USA), The Art Centre, Chulalongkorn University (Thailand), Asian Civilisations Museum (Singapore), and National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (Taiwan), amongst others. His works are collected by institutions including the Asian Civilisations Museum (Singapore) and Vehbi Koç Foundation (Turkey).