ESSAY: Puipia's Siamese smile: Siamese intellectual 1995
Chatchai Puipia was represented in 'The 2nd Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art' at Queensland Art Gallery in 1996 by a group of three large paintings, one of which was Siamese smile: Siamese intellectual (from 'Siamese smile' series). This series of paintings is a continuation of Puipia's exploration of the 'Siamese smile' in which large heads present unsettling images that explore deception, insincerity and facade. These works are essentially self portraits that have been enlarged: they are grotesque plays on the familiar depiction of paintings of the benign smile of the Buddha. Of Puipia's painting Somporn Rodboon has written:
In Siamese smile: Siamese intellectual 1995, the artist uses the self-portrait and lotus flowers to symbolise wisdom. He remarks that Thais always walk behind the wisdom of other countries. The lotus flower represents Buddhism. According to Chatchai, 'Thailand is a Buddhist country where people are not supposed to exploit each other but when you look around, all you see is greed and consumerist values everywhere'.1
- Somporn Rodboon, 'Chatchai Puipia' in The Second Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art [exhibition catalogue]. Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane, 1996, p.93.