It is undeniable that Harit Srikhao is one of the rising stars in Thai contemporary photography. He began taking photos since he was 13 years old, and his surreal images always caught the eye of local and international audience. At the age of 16, he was selected to attend Angkor Photo Workshop of a globally-renowned photographer Antoine d’Agata of Magnum Photos.
Harit has laureated with many national and international awards, from the winner of Juror’s Prize in ‘Power and Politic’ exhibition in Filter Photo Festival, the Second Prize Winner Gomma Grant 2016, the Special Mention by the Jury at Dusseldorf Portfolio Review 2017 in Germany, and the Young Portfolio Award Winner 2018 of Invisible Photographer Asia. His works have been featured in leading magazines including Foam magazine. But what made famous might be when some of his works in the Whitewash exhibition, which was about the political protest in 2010, were removed by the military in 2017.
And Harit seemed to disappear from the art scene for a while. We later learned that after graduating in Photography from the Faculty of Architecture, King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, he went to further his study in photography and visual design in Milan and spent some time in Berlin for his internship, resulting in the latest series ‘Midnight Rainbows’ published in Lure.
Can you tell us more about this series?
“In Berlin, Lure is an advertising agency that also has a website to feature contents on culture and subcultures. They came to Thailand once and interviewed me for their feature. We kept in touch and I ended up there for my internship. I have a chance to work on both the agency part and the website part.”
The subject is about Berlin in the eye of a newcomer. How do you see Berlin?
“I came to Germany many times, but this is the second time I’m in Berlin. When it comes to art, Berlin has a great environment. There are many exhibitions to see and seminars to attend everyday. I was supposed to do the internship for one month and a half but I end up here for three months. Berlin is a city with history about domination, power and conservative ideas. There have been so many movements happening here. If you are an art student, you will love it. Berlin is also a city of artists and young people. It is very free, but not as radical as before. Today, it is more like a hipster city. But there is room for adventure. What I like it here is it is safe to express ideas. It is also very safe to live. People like to say that Berlin is like a sandbox. If you fall, you won’t hurt.”
How does living abroad influence your art practice?
“A good thing is I feel more free here. In Thailand, I feel like we live in a pressing and stressful society, and it is quite hard to work. Once we sink in, we cannot get out. Many times what we thought as creative wasn’t really that creative. Also, there are lots of variations here.
But there are drawbacks too. I discussed with other friends here, that living here is good, but eventually it’s not our place. We are aliens in this foreign land. We are foreigners. But when we go back to Thailand, another question emerges. Is it our place? Some of my works are related to this subject, the question of our identity and position in this world. For me, it is hard to pinpoint what is ‘home’. This is what I want to do more. I call my generation ‘the cave generation’, like we stuck in a cave and we cannot get out. There won’t be heroes to save us, so we need to find the way out by ourselves.”
Have your work direction changed?
“I have worked with collage more than before, because it’s fun. I also spend more time in the post-production process. When I take photos and look at them at the studio, I feel good and calm. It is like a kind of therapy for me.”
Can you share more about the projects you are working on?
“I will graduate soon. After graduation, I will join a residency program this October. It is a residency program of Colors magazine. So I will be living and working with other young artists in a little town close to Venice. But before that I might go back to Bangkok to do some research and gather the materials for this project.”
Image: Harit Srikhao for Lure, Portrait: Graham Meyer for Lure