Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Mandalay shoots

                                                  Sala Keoku, Nong Khai, Thailand

1 comment:

  1. Sala Keoku (The Hall of Keoku) is a sculpture park in Nong Khai, Thailand. Construction started in 1978, after Bunleua Sulilat, who had built Xieng Khuan (Spirit City, but usually referred to as Buddha Park), a similar area on the Lao side of the Mekong river, fled to Thailand after the Pathet Lao victory in 1975. Both parks are located by the Thai-Lao border (the Mekong river), only a few km apart from each other, and the tallest structures can be seen from either country. Born in 1932 in Nong Khai province, Thailand, Bunleua Sulilat was a Thai/Isan/Lao mystic, priest, shaman, myth-maker, spiritual cult leader, and sculpture artist who integrated Hinduism and Buddhism. As a youth, he fell into a cave, where he met his spiritual mentor, the Vietnamese hermit Keoku. He claimed not to have had any artistic experience prior to the construction of Xieng Khuan, but he designed the statues himself as expressions of his syncretic beliefs. He chose concrete as the medium because it was the cheapest and most accessible material. Both of the parks were constructed from donated concrete by hundreds of unskilled enthusiasts working without payment. The statues are mostly unpainted concrete reinforced with metal, though the larger installations have brick support structures in the interior. Though Sulilat was nor formally ordained, the title luang pu (venerable grandfather), usually reserved for monks, was applied to his name when Sala Keoku became in effect a religious sect headquarters. He died in 1996, and his mummified body is on the 3rd floor of the Sala Keoku pavilion building, along with various other associated artifacts.


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