Studio 88 is a wonderful space for anyone who loves being surrounded by the beauty of nature, simple yet deeply rooted to culture, eating lots of healthy local food, just enjoying one’s own time freely. It is so relaxing and also invigorating to both soul and body.
At Studio 88, I found a very quiet space to deeply contemplate and live a villager’s everyday life, which on its own was such a rich experience. I used a bicycle provided by the studio to go around the village, which was fun and also proved to be a very important part of research as I took lots of photos, including the spectacular Mae Kuang reservoir. There were lots of places to stop by to have a snack, drinks, fruits etc. where I was greeted with kindness and tremendous patience (of trying to understand me language-wise). Most of the days, I explored around village quite extensively in morning hours, making works in the afternoon, looking at the photos I’d taken.
Meanwhile, I also had brilliant opportunities to see some of the most stunning mural paintings nearby at Wat Buak Krok Luang. Aom knew that I was very much interested in them particularly; she had already researched them before my arrival and took me to the one she thought I should see. Later she introduced me to Dr Pensupa Sukkata who kindly showed me the mural paintings in Wat Phra Singh in Chiangmai, while explaining the intricate details. She told me about the local lore and the importance of animism, helping me to understand more deeply. It was a truly fantastic experience as it is my major interest. I had read some of the South East Asian folklore, but listening to how they are described by someone with profound knowledge in the subject are conversations that are filled with so much more alive information.
There was luckily a Festival of Lanna culture, creativity, spirit and ancestry in Chiangmai during my stay, Aom took me there to see lots of stores who were showing beautiful weaving and dyed fabric local to the area. It was a great opportunity to see local craft people there.
The residency had breakfast and dinner cooked in their style, delivered to my bungalow everyday. They were all amazingly tasty and deliciously interesting, as they were home cooked food sourced from the village and their gardens. I have never eaten so many unusual flowers and plants and they tasted wonderful.
The bungalow was very spacious and quiet, surrounded by bamboo forests. I woke up every morning with the chorus of birds’ songs, and in the evening fell asleep to them. They had all the things I needed, and had very frequent cleaning too. The only things I had needed was more sunlight. Being a painter, to have daylight is important and an extra daylight stand was provided at my request.
Also, the experience of planting a Teak tree under the guidance of Sak and Aom was very meaningful. Sak is a guardian of the tree registered with the Thai government. I have learned not only about the trees themselves, but also how they have been protected. The planting itself feels great as it makes me feel like I am leaving something there to grow long after I leave.