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Is beauty in the eyes of the beholders? If so how would you define it?

It is not often that we spend time questioning the definition of beauty here, in Thailand. Most of us are perfectly happy to be spoon-fed images of beauty by the fashion industries or the media and come to accept these as the norm. Not much room for any debate on the subject or opportunity to learn where this definition came from!  But this month at the Arden Gallery of Modern Art, we have the opportunity to question just that! The exhibition I refer to is called Beyond Beauty by  Chairat Sangthong. The exhibition will be on from October 26 to November 22 so we have plenty of time to plan a visit.

Here is what ThaiAsiaToday has to say about this exhibition,

Beyond Beauty is the latest solo exhibition by Chairat Sangthong, a national artist award winner, who depicts people from rural communities in the south of the country. Marks relating to a subject’s age, such as rough hands and wrinkled complexions reflect the stark reality of impermanence. Beyond the surface lies the eternal beauty that is love, compassionate and good will, which will hopefully be transferred to future generations.

Beyond Beauty, Chairat Sangthong, 2009

Time, Chairat Chairat ">Sangthong, Acrylic on Canvas, 185 x 145 cm, 2008 © Ardel Gallery and Chairat Sangthong, 2009

His painting directly question our definition of beauty and how hard we have tried to stay young, wrinkle free and beautiful!  A very interesting subject as most of us are bombarded by the media notion of beauty and a vast majority of us spend a fortune trying to defy ageing! But ageing is natural, getting old is graceful and inevitable fate of this human condition.

Courtsey of teh Ardel Gallery and Chaairat Sangthong

© Ardel Gallery and Chairat Sangthong, 2009

For me wrinkles are something worthy of respects, they are marks of a life and is something quite noble and dignified. Not a horror! Ageing and getting old means outgrowing our foolishness and gain wisdom, surely!

Take a look at these paintings and see for yourself the fragility of life! We, women, should not run away from the inevitable and surrender to it gracefully. We can still be beautiful at our most vulnerable age!

The Beauty I, Chairat Sangthong, Acrylic on Canvas, 145 x 185 cm, 2009 © Ardel Gallery and Chairat Sangthong, 2009

This is my favourite painting.  I love is the juxtaposition between the real female image and the icons depicting western definition of art, i.e. Botticelli Venus behind her and Venus de Milo statue at her feet!

I will blog on the actual definition of beauty next but in the meantime, please  go and see these paintings and come back and tell me your views.  I look forward to hear your thoughts.

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