Art on the Beach


It all came about very quickly. In the summer of 2005 we received an invitation for the exposition Art on the Beach from the Department of Culture in Thailand, via the director of The Department of Contemporary Art, Dr. Apinan Poshyananda. It was about a project in Phuket in the south of Thailand to commemorate the victims of the tsunami catastrophe. The two of us were guided around different places with the other artists who were also invited, and we were given the task of  Patong Beach - an honourable but also a difficult commission. How were we going to deal with the site, how would we be able to do something that would both cause engagement and express dignity? We decided no to dwell on the question of grief. Instead our wish became to concentrate and give attention to the close relationship between Sweden and Thailand. When looking through the bus-windows in Thailand we noticed that more or less every home had their own little family temple placed on a pole in front of the house - of a strong red, white, orange or yellow colour. We found them fascinating and once we returned to Sweden, we were received even further inspiration from the Thai Pavilion in Ragunda, built in the beginning of this century in the Province of Jämtland . We wished to reinforce the ties in between Sweden and Thailand by building a small copy of the new church at Ragunda on the Patong Beach. A traditional, Swedish churchsurrounded by a pew with a sheltering roof above it. On the beach in the form of a closely connected white sculpture to arose curiosity from a distance and simultaneously offering a place for meditation, gatherings and protection from the sun. We worked with the architect Nike Karlsson and the black-smith Stefan Hansson and put a lot of effort into finding a financer for our project. In spite of the fact that the Thai Department of Culture guaranteed half of our cost, its equivalent in Sweden was not interested, nor was The National Arts Council or the different support- or aid- organizations, or any other sponsors.