Untitled Si Saket Series 2006, oil on canvas 110x130 cm, by Mitree Parahom.
From the catalogue of the exhibition by H Gallery Bangkok (2007), and H Gallery New York (2006):
Si Saket is the latest exhibition of paintings by Thai artist Mitree Parahom, born in Srisaket 1969. For his 15th solo exhibition, the graduate of Chulalongkorn University Bangkok presents 13 new paintings extolling the virtues of agrarian life in his native Isaan region of Thailand.
After almost a decade achieving domestic success in Bangkok, Mitree relocated to his family farm in the north-eastern ("Isaan") province of Si Saket, giving him closer proximity to the mainstay subject of his art. Distant from the capital's deliberated art climate, Mitree has relinquished the more stylised composite canvases of his early career, becoming purer and more direct in his tribute to agrarian kin.
In his most sincere paintings to date, Mitree's intimate portrayals of lowly Isaan farm folk reveal the humble dignity and camraderie of these rugged, rural cultivators. Despite physical hardship and the uncertainty of the weather, Mitree's paintings convey the famer's undeniable bond with nature.
Symbolically tethered to their labouring oxen, and attired in muddied clothing to protect them from the sun's ravages, the artist places his plebeian subjects against the vividly coloured flat plains and endless horizons that epitomise the Isaan landscape.
Just as Grant Wood's 1930s painting American Gothic paid an indelible homage to the provincial mid-western American farmer, Mitree's stooping depictions of agricultural labourers are iconic in the approbation of Thailand's unsung hero.