2016 started with a nice visit to one of the oldest chinese communities in Bangkok. Talad Noi is a beautiful neighborhood with little streets and great stories. Some of these stories are more than 200 years old. Perfect place for a walking-promenade. Thanks Nico, Joe, Bam and Earth…for your help on this project.
1. .steel things In the old times, most of the neighbors were blacksmiths, steel tool producers. After World War II blacksmiths had to adapt and become mechanicals. Talat Noi become now a rhizome of little streets full of steel pieces stored on such different ways. I tried to understand what´s the sense of this pieces, but mechanical seems to be so complicated for me and my chinese is not so good yet to get philosophical conversations.
2. .sàwatdii krápHere is the only little shop in the area. Locals came there to take a break, meet some people and buy snacks or soda. Not a big business, but just a social link for chinese Thai people in the area; just an excuse to say hello to your neighbors.
3. .circlesEverywhere in the neighborhood you will found people working on strange steel pieces. I had asked an old man about where this came from and where will they go. He wasn´t sure about this. He told me that he just know that this pieces came from old vehicles and will be used on new vehicles. Maybe these new vehicles will become old vehicles one day and the pieces will came again to Talad Noi. Maybe.
4. .happy new yearSome days before Chinese New Year, some posters appear on this wall. These cartels proclaim health, money, love and good luck for everybody. So cute! I´d tried to found who was the author of this nice present, but I didn’t get to find him.
5. .safe temple In Thailand, people know so well how important are symbols as magic requests. Everything means something, so people try to keep a lot of attention about objects and shapes. To please gods, people like to build little temples with lot of nice beautiful funny symbols. If gods are happy, they will protect people from evil and illness. But gods need also protection, so people put little lion sculptures to protect them. I like this give and take. I protect you. You protect me.
After some days painting on Talat Noi, people start to ask me for some orders. One family wanted me to paint the wall from its little poor temple. They don´t have many objects inside, but they wanted me to paint it, just to protect them. Lets protect gods first. This should work.
6. .double bench– hello madam, could I paint your wall?
– of course! Just be careful to don’t dirt the bench. I love it so much.
– If you love it so much… Why are you seated on a plastic chair and not on the bench?
– because I like it, so i want that people can admire it.
– I totally understand. Maybe I can paint something for you. : )))
7. .floating stonesTalat Noi is an old neighborhood sided to the river. I heard a great story about this neighborhood which tells that in the ages, 200 years ago, big ships departed from Talat Noi transporting rice to China. In the way back, these ships bring chinese fabrics to Talat Noi. Because rice is more heavy than fabrics, sailors carry on board some stones from China to balance the weigh of the ships in the way back. With these floating stones Talat Noi citizens decided to build the floor from the main square. Stone by stone, the square reflects now all these exchanges between Talat Noi community and its chinese origins.
8. .the pillow shop I meet this old woman that had spend its last 50 years hand-manufacturing cushions for pray and meditation. It´s so calm and quiet work, that seeing her seems to introduce me on a deep meditation. I understood that while she was working, she was meditating. These cushions should be good ones.
9. .Thai ChiWalking on Talat Noi I was happy to realise that people is so clean and respectful with the environment. Probably because they truly trust on the importance of symbols and images. A dirty space will bring dirty feelings on its life’s, so better to have clean life’s. I had found a place with trash, so I tried to contribute with the purifying of the area with some Tai Chi exercises. I hope it will work.
Other than talk with people and walk around the area, I had the chance to discover some local hot featurings as… …a secret graffiti writer waiting the wright moment to intervent (tsssss! don´t tell anybody),
…an interesting photo collage on the side of a catholic church (catholic art is getting better),
…and some nice sculptures related with…mmmm….eeeee….I don´t know! (I usualy have difficulty to interpretate contemporary art).