Art in Thong Nai Pan

Star Gazing by Anita Michalkiewicz Gold Turquoise Night Crazy Khao Lak Buddha Head
Doors Bar sunrise Poster in Yai Bar toilet embroidered bags at Tanaporn
Fire dancing party Dolphin Bar and Cafe Thai dancing Chinese lion

Art in Thong Nai Pan

There are plenty of creative people who have lived in Koh Phangan - both Thais and 'farang'. As well as an over-supply of CD and computer DJs, the island boasts its own Thai reggae band - 'Job 2 Do'. There is also the impressive Moscowfish who combine dance beats and folk rhythms. These are 'artistic' people.


Thong Nai Pan contributes in its own small way to the island's creative reputation. For several years there has been at least one artist in residence. Before it was Kung who used to run Luna with Nat. You can see an example of Kung's work above. It is a re-working of the traditional Buddha head.


Kung moved to the UK in 2011 and since then the mantle of 'TNP artist in residence' has gone to Top Thumvanit. Top studied fine arts at Silpakorn University in Bangkok. In 2012 he and his Canadian wife set up in the forest on the road to Thong Nai Pan Yai. Top does reproductions as well as original pieces with a surrealist feel. The picture in the gallery above is a perspective on Khao Lak. The boat is the one that was washed up in the jungle after the big tsunami in 2004.It has become a symbol of the disaster.


You can see more of Top's art at Wang Thong Gallery (see map).


The first picture is by my friend, Anita who came to visit Thong Nai Pan in 2007. She wouldn't call herself a professional artist, but she does enjoy sketching. The natural beauty of the beach as well as the bounty of free time that she had resulted in a series of paintings.


Other examples of artistic expression in Thong Nai Pan include the carved Buddha head that was placed outside the Balcony Bar for a couple of years. It is now sadly absent.


It could be argued that fire dancing is a minor art form. There are always a couple of people who are good at spinning burning sticks on the beach.


Places like Rasananda, Santhiya and Baan Panburi often have live Thai dancing. The dancers are usually staff that happened to know a few steps.


People often attempt to bring a bit of artistic flair to the interior and exterior design of their business premises. Most places are made using a basic concrete box with a corrugated or thatched roof. The former Doors Bar looked a cut above the rest. Kim and Giat at Dolphin Bar and Cafe have built not only an unusual structure but have paid careful attention to detail.


Finally, there used to be an Israeli chap that lived locally and sold his own jewellery. I'm not sure if he is still around.


Buying Art in Thong Nai Pan


You can by art objects and souvenirs in a few places in Thong Nai Pan Noi and Yai. Other than the original art at Wang Thong Gallery the art pieces on sale were purchased in either Bangkok or Chiang Mai and brought down to the island. That of course does not diminish the quality of the craftsmanship many pieces display.


Karma on the main road in Yai sells bags, jewellery, sarongs, bedspreads, clothes and Buddha heads. In Noi Tanaporn Massage sells embroidered bags from Chiang Mai. It is expected that as more '5 Star' tourists come to Noi so the choice of expensive objet d' art available for purchase will increase.


Art vs Nature


Having spent too much time over the years taking in the beauty of the beach, the tropical flowers, the jungle climbing the mountains, the towering palm trees it has to be said that nature in Thong Nai Pan is at its best without the interference of man's art. No need to point fingers.


However, no lasting damage is done as the jungle has a habit of reclaiming its property eventually.