Ma-lai: Mentally Secured is based around the form and symbolism of the traditional floral garland, known in Thailand as the phuang malai. Featuring extensively in Thai culture, the traditional phuang malai can be classified in accordance to its three purposes: as an offering of respect, as a mark of importance, or as a souvenir from a host for good luck.
An art form originally taught to women in the Thai royal court, the phuang malai as an object deeply embedded in Thai culture, life and ritual, is evocative of femininity amidst enduring bonds of cultural tradition, and spirituality. Delicately handcrafted from toile, the delicate and monumental installation is, in the artist’s own words, “a subtle comment on the conditions of life, not only to cherish the wonders but also to pay respect to the struggles and losses”.
Pinaree Sanpitak (b. 1961, Thailand) is one of the most compelling and respected Thai artists well-regarded for her powerful explorations of women’s experiences in Southeast Asia. Working through a variety of media, including painting, drawing, textile, and sculpture, the prolific artist has produced an astounding body of works that connect directly to viewers. Pinaree’s work has been featured in numerous museum exhibitions globally and has participated in major biennials in Australia, Italy, Japan, and Korea.
Image courtesy of Tyler Rollins Fine Art