Phor Nan Ton (R.I.P. – 1921-2014)
A famous and revered shaman in northern Thailand, Phor Nan Ton was also a well-known artist who used his creativity in the past to decorate temples and to draw yantra shirts and cloths. His healing skills were also reknowned and brought people to him even in his last years. One of his trademarks was to dress in women’s attire to fool the evil spirits and thus make his work more effective.
At ninety years old (2011) he was still actively creating paintings and drawings and we are pleased to be able to offer some more recent, as well as much older, works.
In the tradition of many so-called ‘folk’ artists he used what materials were at hand, be they cardboard, paper, advertising posters, wooden boards… whatever.
Nor was he particular about how the finished work was treated: many pieces were put outside on his porch, or in his ‘sala’. Some lined the walls in his home, one atop another, subject to water leaks, teething kittens, insects, rodents, etc.
Part of our mission has been to preserve these works, and part of it is to bring his singular vision to a wider audience. These are works of myth, religion and spirituality- Buddhist mostly, but informed by the wisdom and knowledge of a rich, long life. For us as viewers, there is much here to learn from, and much to delight the eye.