Family Audio Guide Stop #33 Natee Utarit
Natee Utarit is a painter who asks us to think about the ways European painting has impacted art in Southeast Asia. Utarit is influenced by other Asian artists who have incorporated elements of Western art into their style. The inspiration for The Dream of Siamese Monks is a mural from 1865 called People Viewing Giant Lotus, located in Bangkok, Thailand. The mural incorporated elements of photographs, postcards, and calendars, creating a layered effect that fused flat lines and colors of traditional Siamese painting with western-style realism and three-dimensional perspective.
Can you see how the artist uses layers to create a three-dimensional effect? There are mountains in the background, houses and people in the foreground, and a giant flower on top. Scenes of nature mix with scenes from everyday life: the trees and mountains create the backdrop for children playing and people gathering in a scene from a neighborhood. Some parts of the painting seem ordinary and familiar, but other elements are surreal, like they are from a strange dream. The statue you see to the left and the giant flower are dreamlike parts of the painting.
What do you think about this mix of familiar and unfamiliar images? Does it remind you of some of your dreams, when some things seem ordinary and others strange? If you painted your dreams, what would your painting look like?