Trang, like other towns in Southern Thailand such as Phatthalung and Songkhla, has an active group of street artists whose wall murals are created with the cooperation and approval of the local community.
The art that is being created in Trang is very much part of a broader South East Asian street art movement which the artwork relates closely to, and fits in well, to the location where it is painted.
About Trang’s Street Art
Most of the street art in Trang is clustered in three locations: on the Ratchadamnoen Alley, at the top end of the Ratchadamnoen Road. and in and around the town’s municipal park, although there are other murals dotted around the town which you should keep an eye out for when walking around Trang.
The most famous wall mural is The Painting of Sri Tang which features a park with trees in blossom. The interesting thing about this painting is the use of 3 dimensional perspective which gives the appearance of depth: it looks as through you can walk through the surface of the mural into the park. The same technique has been used on Trang’s other well known wall mural, the Emerald Cave, where the lake beyond the Emerald Cave in Koh Muk is visible through a whole in the wall, with a worker chiselling away at the rest of the wall to enlarge the opening.
The other technique Trang artists are using to to connect the murals to the place where they are painted is to incorporate real physical features of the local environment into the piece of art they are creating. This street art technique was popularised by the work of Lithuanian street artist in 2012 in the work he created for the Georgetown festival in Penang and again in 2014 with a series of murals in Ipoh. A good example of this is the bird mural in Trang, where a giant sparrow perches on a real blue plastic drain pipe. The drain pipe is an ugly feature made beautiful and interesting by the bird painting on top of it, making this mural a textbook example of street art making a town look better maintained, rather than the normal association of street art with urban decay.
As well as using techniques to connect street art to the local environment, another defining feature of the South East Asian street art movement is that the art reflects the place where it is painted. The murals of people playing sport in the town’s municipal park are a great example of this. Creating paintings about sport in the town park is a self evidently appropriate choice of subject matter for the artist.
People in Trang are very proud of their local environment. As well as beautiful islands such as Koh Muk and Koh Libong, the province has some great national parks and natural wonders like waterfalls. Painting about the local environment is a natural choice for a Trang artist trying to convey a sense of local identity.
Some of the art work in Trang is less serious, and deals with local cultural identity in a more humorous way. The painting of a dugong in a Trang style tuk tuk is a cartoon like representation of two the most important symbol of the town: the endangered dugong which flourishes off the coast of Trang; and, the tuk tuks in Trang which look very different to tuk tuks elsewhere in Thailand.
Location of The Painting Of Sri Trang
- The Painting Of Sri Trang is located on the near the intersection of the Ratchadamnoen Alley and Phet Kasem Road.