Hometown: Ubon Ratchathani
Lives and Works: Bangkok
Born in the southern part of the Thai Isaan region, Maitree Siriboon moved to Bangkok at the age of fifteen to study, first at the College of Fine Art, and later at the prestigious Silpakorn University where he received his bachelor’s degree in fine art.
His early work is influenced from Thai temple colorful mirror technique style. His childhood rural landscape permeates in his art, a sparkling two-dimensional texture filled with trees, rice paddies, traditional agricultural scenes, and water buffaloes.
Later on, Maitree turned to contemporary style photography. His first photo series Isan Boy Dream invited foreigners to his childhood home Nong-Bo, placing them against characteristic village back- drops. Isan Boy Soi 4 examines, in an idealized fashion, the experience of rural youth transplanted to a big cosmopolitan city. Most recently, Maitree develops a sensuous and sometimes mystical treatment of models and water buffalos in idyllic pastoral settings. He launched the series "Save Thai Buffalo" in June 2015, at YenakArt Villa art gallery in Bangkok.
This series is paying tribute to the buffalo, which helped build Thailand into a rice-farming nation, and therefore into the modern nation it is today. But now, regrets Maitree, you hardly see buffaloes working in rice-fields.
The series is featuring the albino buffalo Maitree Siriboon is raising in his home-town, painted with the natural colors used in India for the sacred cows, underlining, with a strong sense of humour, that the buffalo is playing a new "decorative" role in contemporary Thailand.
On each photo, the painting on the buffalo is inspired by a famous modern artwork or artist, that Maitree preferred when visiting the western museums expressing the "cultural shock" he had when he came back to his village after his first long trip to Europe.
Maitree is a recipient of numerous national awards among them is The Bualuang Award in 2006 by The Bangkok bank foundation in 2006. work has been shown around South East Asia as well as in Brazil, United States, Japan, France, China, Italy, UK, and the Netherlands. Exhibitions include the Guangzhou Triennial 2011, Young Artist Project South Korea (YAP) 2011, The 3rd Biennial of World Images in Paris (Photoquai) 2011, and Art Stage Singapore 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016.
About the artist's "Save Thai Buffalo" series:
The buffalo are hand-painted by the artist with 100% natural colors from India, where they are used for human and sacred animals body-painting.
The series looks in to the water buffalo, an iconic animal in the region. With the buffaloes losing their position as indispensable workhorse in Thailand, they are now transformed in to comics of the modern age: used as decoration, food and entertainment. He decided to reinvent the buffalo in to a performance art, encouraging interaction during the production of the series and rekindling the close relationship that once was.