Navin Rawanchaikul: Places of Rebirth
Valentine Willie Fine Art is pleased to present the first solo exhibition in Singapore of internationally acclaimed Thai artist Navin Rawanchaikul. This dynamic new exhibition introduces audiences to a world mediated by journeys of self-discovery, re-imagining and social connectivity. Manipulating notions of entertainment and parody Rawanchaikul is well known for exploring his Hindu-Punjabi heritage combined with an interest in site specific and community driven projects. His elaborately staged tales of personal negotiation invites audiences in a spirit of play and generosity to consider notions of heritage, self-agency and alienation. For Places of Rebirth Rawanchaikul contributes painting, sculpture, video, comics and personal documentation from well-known series such as Navins of Bollywood, Taximan and Fly with Me to Another World to reveal the performance of identity as well as inter human relationships in an increasingly fragmented and globalised world.
Navin Rawanchaikul has located his practice within an individual brand of theatre based upon his own identity that creates a tense farce between his Thai cultural background and Hindu-Punjabi heritage. As such his now iconic hand painted Bollywood inspired posters unfold personal narratives that falter between fact and fantastical fiction. However, although works such as Navins of Bollywood cast the artist as the central figure in a humorous cinematic tale, what fundamentally drives Rawanchaikul’s practice is the notion of collaboration. Through a constant exploration of his role as artist facilitator, Rawanchaikul creates ongoing journeys and dialogues within different communities. Across narrative painting, video, comic books or sculptural avatars his story telling becomes a rich process of artistic research creating a personal and collective archive filled with nuance and history.
As indicative of the title Places of Rebirth also presents a more confessional and intimate tone marking a reflective period in the artist’s life. A hand written letter to his daughter Mari and an uncharacteristically muted painting called Mario Sisters are on display in the gallery. The painting depicts Mari playing on a see saw in front of the old train station in Gujranwala, the city where Rawanchaikul’s mother was born and migrated to Thailand from in 1947 during the India-Pakistan partition. These more personal contributions surrounding identity confusion and his daughter who negotiates her own mixed Thai/Indian and Japanese heritage highlights feelings of human longing that destabilise any misunderstood notions of kitsch in his work. What emerges instead, are considered meditations and deep emotions around cultural hybridity, place and history. As such viewers are invited into site of profound and playful artistic questioning of the human ego and community