Dressing up stories

Max Crosbie-Jones

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Jakkai Siributr. Photograph: Benya Hegenbarth

Jakkai Siributr’s latest exhibition invites us to do something unusual within the usually passive context of an art gallery: dress up. On a table in the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre’s cave-like fourth-floor gallery sits a pile of Muslim songkok skull-caps and, next to that, is a rack of a dozen or so military camouflage jackets. There’s a full-length mirror too, for admiring yourself in once you’ve tried them on for size. But all is not well in the land of sartorial make-believe. While the jackets are embroidered with faux-naïf scenes of harmony in Thailand’s largely Muslim-populated deep south, the white caps tell a more harrowing story. The inside of each is lined with camouflage-print cloth and embroidered with images of daily life in this insurgency-stricken region — including its violence. Car bombs detonate, children scream and dead soldiers lie with their brains blown out.

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