This subtle portrait follows Lung Neaw as he lives off the land, occupies his time and visits neighbours in a world of simple realities and compassion for his environment and fellow villagers. The work shares the basic truths of a humble man, another man making our world turn in a better revolution.
At the age of sixty, Lung Neaw (Uncle Neaw) finds himself retired from his life as a rice farmer in a small village in the Northern Thai Province of Chiang Mai. Away from the chatter and noise of recent political upheaval, in the capital Bangkok, and the demand for democratic reforms, we follow Lung Neaw in his daily life. We see Lung Neaw living off the land that he has known since he was born, fishing, hunting and foraging for herbs and vegetation in the open fields and forest nearby his home. He goes about the chores of living and fills up his idle time with the practicalities of a rural existence, and in between he finds time to spend with neighbours, from the local sage, to the ailing and aged elephant king deep in the valley, to children who play in his front yard and the youngsters at the local watering hole. Lung Neaw is known in the surrounding villages and his own as the man without enemies, a fair man without judgment and humble with his humility.
We have to ask, 'What more can one want when one is already living in Paradise?', in this moment when many people are asking for equality, opportunity, self determination and for democracy in the hands of the people, in Lung Neaw we find both answers and questions to these demands. We find it in the sustenance of self awareness and sufficiency and in compassion and humility, we find it in the narrative of the real and of the simplicity of each day.
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Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija is widely recognized as one of the most influential artists of his generation. His work defies media-based description, as his practice combines traditional object making, public and private performances, teaching and other forms of public service and social action. Winner of the 2005 Hugo Boss Prize awarded by the Guggenheim Museum, his exhibition there consisted of a pirate radio (with instructions on how to make one for yourself). Tiravanija was also awarded the Benesse by the Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum in Japan and the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Lucelia Artist Award.
He has had a retrospective exhibition at the Museum Bojmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam that then was presented in Paris and London. Tiravanija is on the faculty of the School of the Arts at Columbia University, and is a founding member and curator of Utopia Station, a collective project of artists, art historians and curators. Tiravanija is also President of an educational-ecological project known as The Land Foundation, located in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and is part of a collective alternative space located in Bangkok-- where he maintains his primary residence and studio.