Tradition or Trash?

Mixed media of recycled plastic bags, fabrics
By: Chelsy Chua Chawica

Artist Statement:

Loy Krathong (ลอยกระทง) is a festival that Thai people celebrate annually after the rice harvest season. During the festival, the Thai people thank the water goddess for her abundant supply of water, whilst offering an apology for the pollution that is produced by farming. The work revolves around the traditional Thai-inspired garment, as a nostalgic nod to my childhood memories of wearing similar garments celebrating the festival back in Thailand. Traditionally, flower and banana leaf boats, or kratongs, are sent floating down rivers and oceans. Unfortunately, newer and cheaper alternatives such as styrofoam and bread are used, which pollute these water bodies and harm marine life immensely. Therefore, the colourful details on the garment were made with plastic packaging to highlight the problematic use of this unsustainable material. Additionally, it serves as a reference to my dual nationality, as the packaging is sourced from Thai and Singaporean snacks. The folding technique used also mimics the process of making the kratongs. Thus, this work questions the irony of this celebration, along with the pain and eventual death that these innocent animals, specifically fish, go through.

By: Chelsy Chua Chawica

Details shots:


Detail 1


Detail 2

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