Home-sawan Umansapa | Janine Yasovant | Scene4 Magazine | July 2021 | www.scene4.co

Silpa Sthan 
Home-sawan Umansap
Janine Yasovant


Silpa Sthan is located in Chum Phae District. Khon Kaen Province Northeast of Thailand.

Its origin is quite interesting. There, Home-sawan Umansap is the artist I know (and have been following for many years with a sense of wonder). This is where he draws his energy from working, including sculpture, drawing, design, and having many solo exhibitions.


Home-sawan Umansap is very down-to-earth. But his way of working is spread out, and he went to work alone or as a member of a team in different places all over Thailand. In a secondary school in a district called Chum phae Suksa school Khon Kaen Province, he started as an outstanding student who liked folk music until he took control of a musical instrument band called the Khene team. Khene is a Thai Isan mouth-organ whose pipes, which are usually made of bamboo, are connected with a small, hollowed-out hardwood reservoir into which air is blown. The Khene is the national instrument of Laos. Khene music is an integral part of Lao life that promotes family and society. Home-sawan Umansap was the leader with more than 200 students in the Khene band, and had the opportunity to study with an art teacher who was a temple artist. His attention led him to work hard. He acquired bachelor's and master's degrees at Silpakorn University, in Bangkok Thailand. He  started to work at the age of 19.

From 2002-2008, he traveled to work at temples in various regions of Thailand. He made a promise to himself that comes from a demanding inner mind as he traveled to work at temples. It's not an easy job to become an artisan with villagers, monks and novice monks in various temples.


Designers and craftsmen are leaders for the villagers. A Buddha statue made of concrete and fine sand (the size not less than two meters, which is known as a large Buddha image). He started by selling his paintings while studying in university to raise working capital and traveled to make Buddha statues for hundreds of temples. I asked where he got the money since many do not charge for labor or travel to do religious work "I have to work with villagers, novice monks who haven't studied art before." He smiled and told me that he was the team leader creating the work, and the opportunity to teach villagers. Create local artisans to work together with care, suffering, and happiness together, when the work started it was completed beautifully. And when the competence was accepted, the temples demanded that they come to design and work in different places in Thailand. It's been seven years and one thing, he said to me, everything went well because I practice Dharma.


He used to do a workshop with National Artists such as Ajarn Thawan Duchanee, Ajarn Chalermchai Kositpipat, and many others for his own experience. He desired to learn from the analytical thinking of adults with art, to be a good listener and a colleague with everyone. He regarded those times as the golden opportunity of his life. And he wanted to let the elder Artists to get to know him seriously.

The following was an interview with Homsawan Umansub at the time his art project at Silpa Sthan began to take shape on 22 rai, where he had bought the huge land with his own money.

JY. What is your the current project? Where is it located what are the objectives?


HU. Silpa Sthan is the place I created and I named it. The land and buildings are for giving art enthusiasts and artists who will come to see or do the workshops, do internships, exchange knowledge, and create new generations to have the opportunity to make art together at the right time in Chum Phae District, Khon Kaen Province, Thailand

JY. Please tell us about your meaning of Thai art. What would you like to explain about the concept of people who have always worked for religion?


HU. There was an artistic turning point in my thought. When attending school and attending University, learning at that time was the principle of learning of the external development of the person from the subjects, both artistically and scientifically. The way of learning, before the implementation of the Western style of Education in which students are appreciated and admired by popular and recognized beautiful models. The outstanding objects reflecting feelings and emotions towards being seen and being universal and accepted widely.


The work of Buddhist Art in the East, instead, is about the spirit coming out of the philosophy of religion, which was a matter of the mind. It is not only the principle of Buddhist Art in Thailand alone, China, Tibet, Japan, Burma, Laos, it is the principle of Buddhism regardless of any sect. from any country The pattern that I have seen is developed from within. Art of the East was applied to all the origins of life.


JY. Tell us about your happiness with your creative work that has been done for a long time and that is quite different from the traditional. For the example, I had seen when you drew pictures of Buddha or did the sculptures, you made the viewer smile immediately with the strange style very different from others.


HU. In addition to the sculptures and paintings that I have been doing for a long time and selling them out, I mostly use them to donate to help temples. Especially to help children's education in schools, which I have always done and contributed a lot to society, and I'm someone who doesn't think too much about work and people I had known.


Here, I'm answering for the first time: The sacrifice of hard work for a long time made me understand the world, understand life, the price of my work was quite high. I have never used a channel to pretend that I have to help people. Those who are interested in my work, who were foreigners, came back to buy my work again and again. Until later I refused to take their money and if I knew how they liked my sculptures or my paintings.


I always gave them for free and we had good friendships. I'm content to set an example in society like this. The customers are very considerate. They had tried to offer something to help. They were determined when they saw me working and everything is about friendship. My customers are from Singapore and Japan. They love and understand Buddhist Art as well as going to help the temple to build the statue of Buddha when I was still studying in university. My artwork was sold to bring money to help the temples. A statue of Buddha uses concrete mortar. Not less than 13 bags for just one Buddha Image, using the labor of villagers and novice monks who have no experience studying art, money to use for work was interrupted all the time.


If the work was not finished, you felt miserable. Let me give you an example of my work from the past. A village headman of the village, Sop Po Sub-district, Mae Tha District, Lampang Province wanted me to make a statue of Buddha. He said he had been following my work for many years. Not only the sculptures, but also the paintings. Novice monks came to help  I drew the entrance door and the inner sanctuary. When the job was done, it made for happiness and the villagers' smiles. We were happy together.

JY. What would you like to tell us about the art project?  Which I still didn't know as you can tell.


HU. At Silpa Sthan I have a project to build 10 Sims in Isan or small Ubosot (a Buddhist monastery). In the Isaan dialect, with concrete features,. Sim is a gathering place for arts and craftsmen. An Isan Sim is small. But the proportions fit perfectly, a beautiful, rectangular shape. There are decorative motifs on the base, body, and top, and will invite skilled people to design and draw outside.

It is a story of teaching dharma to relatives on the outer wall that will be the identity of the Sim Isan. Fortunately, I invited the first one to decorate, a national artist, Ajarn Preecha Taothong. A Thai National National Artist in Visual Arts was the first one to paint our Isan Sim

Sim is a sangha area within the Buddha image. Considered Holy and Pure, it is a place of beauty.

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Scene4 Magazine: Janine Yasovant

Janine Yasovant is a writer and art collector in Chiang Mai, Thailand and a Senior Writer for Scene4. For more of her commentary and articles, check the Archives.

©2021 Janine Yasovant
©2021 Publication Scene4 Magazine


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Arthur Danin Adler



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