Thank you for this unforgettable time.
|Sam Rit Residency Program|
'I feel lucky to be a part of Sam Rit Residency and I would recommend it to everyone who would like to be immersed with all their senses in Thai nature, culture, people' - Paulina Majda, Poland
The first feeling that I remember when I've arrived in Thailand was a touch of hot and humid air at the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport. This hot feeling was present during my entire stay in Thailand, not only as weather but mainly as a feeling of human warmth. I spent more than one month at Sam Rit Residency and everyday was like discovering something new about myself, other people and about my artistic projects. I've created a collection of collages dedicated to the Thai food and nature. I've also worked on animation clips for my movie "The Wall” which is in production right now. I've experienced a lot of kindness from the locals and residency management who are very welcoming and made me feel at home. I was tasting fantastic Thai food cooked by amazing and beautiful women, attending local festivals, ceremonies, parties, markets, massages, learnt Thai language and simply fully enjoyed my life. I feel lucky to be a part of Sam Rit Residency and I would recommend it to everyone who would like to be immersed with all their senses in Thai nature, culture, people.
Thank you for this unforgettable time.
'I found my time spent at Sam Rit to be very rewarding, in an artistic and a social, personal sense.' - Joolie Gibbs, Gympie, Australia
I found my time spent at Sam Rit to be very rewarding, in an artistic and a social, personal sense. Coming from a full on job as a regional Gallery Coordinator, where long days and many daily meetings were the norm, to easing into a much slower pace with totally my own schedule, and only a few people to talk to was just what I needed. Reflecting back on my 2 weeks, I miss the daily heartbeat of the small village of Sam Rit with its patterns of life, like the daily varied and many birdsongs, the sound of the Tokkei (the large gecko), the sound of the Buddhist prayers from the loudspeaker that could be heard all over the village, the jingle of the cows being led around the village and being gently guided home at night by their owners, and the local children playing ball games and hide and seek outside the studio. I enjoyed the pace of life that went on around me as I worked daily in the residency studio creating my own rhythm to work to, and enjoying my solitude. My daily excursions on the supplied bike provided ample material for me, either from direct sketches or photographs, and was a great way to get a feel for the community. Believing you see more by walking or riding a bike, I even ventured to Phimai one day on the bike, on the hottest day of my stay, but I do recommend the Thai massage when you get there.
It was comforting to know that Eam, his wife Puy Art and On were there to help with any queries, and provide transport for those trips to Phimai and to Nakhon Ratchasima, and they were always happy to oblige, with big smiles. Jin, the shop owner and restaurant cook across the road from the residency became friends, along with her mother Cheun, husband Ti, and 2 children, and it was sad to leave her wonderful cooking and company. They were much keener to learn English than I was at learning Thai, although my ‘kop koon ka’ eventually got there. I also found the husband and wife team looking after the family farm were very helpful, especially in explaining the various fish traps and their names that I discovered, and mean to do more with. I felt totally comfortable sitting on the low bamboo table, in the steamy afternoon for a couple of hours sketching and enjoying their hospitality and genuine desire to help. We overcame the language barrier.
My visit coincided with the Thai New Year, a 3 day event called Songkran, where water features heavily. This meant the locals did their best to drench every passerby on foot, bike, scooter or truck from water pistols and buckets of water, and there was much rivalry from neighbouring villages. Also during my visit there was a local election, and I’m happy to say that Eam was elected local Mayor of one of the villages.
Sam Rit residency was a home away from home, with all that I needed to feel comfortable. If I had longer time, I could have done some art with the children, as I felt I was just getting to know them by the time I left. Even though there was not much happening with the rice farming at this time, there was still plenty to see from temples, monuments, and family and farming life, which is so different from what I am used to. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and recommend it to others.
'I questioned my artistic practice and tried to renew my way of working, which is the result of any good artist residency' - Jeremy Pailler, France
During my stay at Sam Rit residency, I worked on a project that involved the children of the village. They wrote sentences about their way of life, that I illustrated in black and white drawings. It was an interesting way to connect two different cultures around the same creative project. I am preparing two different exhibitions from this, back in France. I entitled the project "In my village". I am very happy with this experience. I visited Thailand for several months but staying in Sam Rit allowed me to get myself another appreciation of the country, more intimate and truthful. I also feel like I learned a lot about myself. I questioned my artistic practice and tried to renew my way of working, which is the result of any good artist residency. Sam Rit residency forces the artist to go further by putting him or her in the difficulty of another language, temperature, cultural way of living etc. It incredibly feeds the creation process and imagination. The place is charming, the countryside luxuriant and the people welcoming. The residency's managers help the artists a lot and propose them activities in the village. This is an experience recommended for whoever wants to push the boundaries of creativity and human experience.
'I feel very humbled to have had the opportunity to come here and meet the locals, they have inspired happiness within myself as they endlessly try to reach out to us, welcoming us to their way of life' - Lisa Scrimgeour, Scotland
The Sam Rit residency here in Thailand is a beautiful project aimed to take artists around the globe and introduce them to thai culture and it’s most profound. Here in the village of Sam Rit, the culture is untouched by western hands and the sense of community is innate. I feel very humbled to have had the opportunity to come here and meet the locals, they have inspired happiness within myself as they endlessly try to reach out to us, welcoming us to their way of life. Our first week, not yet over, has been full of culturally rich journeys. We visited temples, farms, and most importantly, the people themselves. If there was ever a place for an artist to gain not only inspiration but also a glimpse at a uplifting world of happiness and community spirit, this is without a doubt, that place. It leaves one with a compelling drive to make work for your own benefit and takes you away from the ruthless and distracting capitalism of the west. This is truly a place to let your soul recover.
As we sit with the locals learning basic words, we drink beer and eat together around a big table filled with almost every family member of the residency project managers. They welcome us as if we were family. We laugh, break language barriers and enjoy the “foreign” company. It almost seems banal and unimportant that we are from somewhere else, we feel at home here. My work is chiefly influenced by the idea of the “other” yet here I am influenced by culture and have decided to try to learn local folktales to influence new work. Already I am benefiting from the peaceful spirit that surrounds us.
We visited the “magic tree” yesterday, the tree stretches across 3500 square feet, and using supports umbrellas the walking area that has been made underneath. The tree is 300 years old and people from all over Thailand come to visit it and get their fortunes from the shrine of the trees “guardian “. My fortune warned to be careful as good fortune was yet to be mine. I think this trip has given me the strength to do just that and I look forward to more adventures and experiences in the next coming week to help me along my own life journeys.
'The residency is a great place for inspiration and quiet contemplation of your art and the culture we live in the west' - Geoffrey Krist, Connecticut, usa.
I recently spent a month at the Sam Rit residency and it was a truly eye opening and amazing experience.The village is rural and gorgeous as well as teaming with life. The staff are incredibly accommodating and are eager to understand and learn from you just as much as you want to learn from them. The people of the village as well are happy and extremely pleasant. English is a foreign language here but the people are happy to try and communicate and relate in any way possible, for me personally it was through music that I related most to the locals I enjoyed dancing to the Thai songs they played and shared with them some of my favorite American songs which they seemed to enjoy as well. The residency is a great place for inspiration and quiet contemplation of your art and the culture we live in the west. It offers countless opportunities to express ones artistic vision weather it be creating murals on the walls or in my case repairing refurbishing an old statue I discovered hiding behind a wall of the residency. I will always remember this place and the people and staff that made it great I hope I will be able to return soon to my new family across the world.
'It was a great opportunity to open my ears, sharpen the eyes and become engrossed in an unfamiliar culture and people who don't speak the same language' - Nurten Yuksel, Prague, CZech Republic.
It was a long journey to Thailand and the Sam Rit village from Prague, Czech Republic as I had many problems on the way with an airline company, but I forgot everything in a short time when I got to the Sam Rit Residency and meet with some wonderful people, the climate, food and culture and it was then I took a deep breath of relief.
The beautiful warm sun was shining on me every day and the Thai people were trying to make me as happy as their sun. I felt that definitely they are carrying the sun inside and found that the Sam Rit people are really special, very friendly, humble, hospitable and most helpful.
The Sam Rit residency made me feel inspired and motivated me to make work with its cultural surroundings. It was a great opportunity to open my ears, sharpen the eyes and become engrossed in an unfamiliar culture and people who don't speak the same language.
I had a presentation and workshop at the local school in my first week of the residency, the teachers were lovely, very friendly and I became a friend with the art teacher Dada.
The school and students were completely different than my teaching school in Prague but I enjoyed every minute working with them, the workshop with students gave me a lot of new ideas and I decided to continue my project and made progression with new inspiration for next steps.
One day I took my bike with some food and water and a go pro head camera attached to my chest, then I rode to the tourist monumental direction and decided to change my way and take the field road on the left side of the tourist park.
I was very happy when I heard and felt the sounds of nature there and I started singing a song on the bike, lost within myself. Everywhere was very quiet and peaceful apart from the birds who were like in a song singing competition and the local villagers were working on the fields.
I was greeting them with my three Thai words and improved my communication skills with them, I didn't know where I was going exactly but I didn't care because I just wanted to feel free in the nature. It wouldn't matter if I was lost, I was very excited when I saw the big lake with the water lilies and many kind of species of plants on it.
Then I saw a big farm and some strange animals I had never seen it in my life before, I was talking with the nature, plants and animals. Then I picked up a squashed frog from the road and took it to Prague with me as a sort of friend, I enjoyed exploring out of village by myself on the bike and found some interesting objects.
I made many friends in the village, went to the hairdresser one day and I met with Thipakorn, his wife and their two lovely daughters. They invited me for their niece's haircut ceremony in the temple, the ceremony was starting at 7 o'clock in the morning, so I was up early and went there with my friend Chris ( who was also enrolled in the residency program).
It was a very different type of ceremony for me and my first time in the temple to watch this kind of ceremony, then we had a lot of delicious Thai food during early morning in the temple with Thipakorn and his family.
After that he invited us to his family's coconut garden, we rode there altogether and had fresh coconut juice, he and his wife were very generous and friendly with warm hearts. He said we can go to their coconut garden whenever we want and get some fresh coconuts, it was very nice to explore the garden and see different plant, trees and rice fields.
A few days after they visited us in the Sam Rit Residency and brought us some fresh fruits and visited our art works in the studio, then we said goodbye to each other.
It was New Year’s time and the village was having the New Years party, lasting almost the whole week, we got many invitations, it was a bit crazy and interesting time for me because they were starting to turn on music early in the morning, almost all day you heard some music and the parties continued until midnight with a lot of food, drinks and people.
Once we went to a karaoke party also, we just went there without invitation with Chris, they were very welcoming to us, they gave us a seat and a lot of delicious food and drinks. We met one of our friends from the village and then meet with a lot of new people.
Everybody was taking my photo and wanted to dance with me, even the singer on the stage stopped singing and came to me and he wanted to meet with me, the people in Sam Rit made me feel like a princess.
I had many field trips, visiting historical places, markets, shops, Thai massage, cooking classes, festivals, parties and ceremonies. I have collected a lot of art materials, experimental art works, objects, images and videos. Now it is time to work with my inspirations of Sam Rit in the country where I live, but Thailand is still in my mind, Sam Rit is still in my heart , I miss already my room mate little Gecko and his strange sounds in the night. I hope to have a chance again to visit this lovely village in the near future.
Nurten Yuksel, 2015
'Exploring village, flowers and fresh food everywhere, spectacular birds and butterflies, waves, smiles, and winding tracks that continue for ever' - Christine Gaughran, Cork, Ireland.
Hot sun, warm welcomes from warm hearts, and, at the residency, warm showers - a luxury in rural Thailand. Great to continue creative energy with only the patio between sleep, kitchen, and studio. Seemingly endless miles of rice fields, roads traversing, flat and great for cycling. Exploring village, flowers and fresh food everywhere, spectacular birds and butterflies, waves, smiles, and winding tracks that continue for ever. We stayed over New Year so there were party invitations continually. At work and play I was impressed by cooperation amongst folk, reflecting a sense of community at a level I’ve rarely experienced in Western Europe, and, coming from Europe it was good to be able to stay a month, time to absorb and acclimatize to Thai weather and culture. In my practice, daily sunshine was great for cyanotype process, and it’s been invaluable time for reflection and re-assessing, plus I have megabytes of photographs and video to work with, when home again in the wind and rain of Ireland. Ok, so many thanks to Sam Rit folk, I hope to come again. Kít teŏung !
Christine Gaughran 2015
'We could not have envisioned the profound effect that these experiences had on the way we approach our work and on us personally.' - Jaz Graf, New Jersey, USA
We were lucky to be at Sam Rit during the rice harvest. We found piles of rice on the grounds of the local wat, in front of the school, along roadsides…they were all over town. Workers even pitched tents to watch over their rice. It was an interesting phenomenon to observe how the whole community was invested. Each morning, workers came to sift rice in front of the residency.
We noticed that in Sam Rit (and mostly everywhere we traveled in Thailand) life happens in front of the house, at street level. People sit on mats, to relax, to watch TV, to eat, to cook…it all seems to happen outside and right in front. So one afternoon, we decided to situate ourselves right on the street. We watched children walk home from school, families ride by on scooters, rainbow colored rice trucks and local life pass us by. We recorded these sounds and paired them with a time lapse video of the rice harvesters at work.
We enjoyed so many things at Sam Rit. Biking to Phi Mai was especially beautiful. On the way back, we found ourselves a bit lost. Someone soon stopped to give directions, without us even asking. We went though a small village with a very narrow main street and everyone was out on their stoop. It was in these few moments that we saw rural life unfiltered, everything happened in slow motion, peoples faces were illuminated, there was only this moment, this experience.
To wrap up our stay, we exchanged stories over a big family meal at our host’s home. We became a part of Sam Rit's extended family. We could not have envisioned the profound effect that these experiences had on the way we approach our work and on us personally.
Jaz Graf & Laos Fois, 2014
'I recommend anyone wishing to experience an authentic side of Thailand whilst having a wonderful studio space to work in must make Sam Rit a priority'. - Jordan Hart, Dalby, QLD Australia
After spending three weeks in Vietnam and having an introduction to the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, my first couple of days at the residency were met with great food, a family atmosphere and peace and quiet. Whilst living in Sam Rit for a total of 5 weeks I was able to have an authentic Thailand experience. From the mini restaurant/local store that made beautiful Thai cuisine for $1 a plate, the beautiful surroundings of rice fields, attempting to communicate with my very limited knowledge of the language, friendly faces and local families to trust in, Sam Rit residency was a hard place to leave.
Whilst staying in Sam Rit, Aem and Elysha introduced me to all of their family and other residency workers who were always on hand to drive me to bus stations, into Phimai - a town not far from Sam Rit, and welcomed me into family dinners that went late into the night. My main aim for the residency was to begin developing a body of work which was a result of ideas and brainstorming that I had been working on previously. Using the surrounding rural areas and temples as inspiration I was able to focus on my paper cuts - a practice I had not visited for some time. I also took advantage of the free wall space in which to practice my murals for a later date. At the end of the residency I had finished with a work a day, not to mention to drawings and note taking in my journal during this time.
Once I left Thailand I was off to the USA for another adventure. I plan to use what I made during my residency program to further inform my own ideas of art and continue in my practice, hopefully resulting in a solo show in 2015. Not only was the experience refreshing for me but it also allowed me to lay some more groundwork to further establishing myself as an artist. I recommend anyone wishing to experience an authentic side of Thailand whilst having a wonderful studio space to work in must make Sam Rit a priority.
- To check out some of Jordan's works completed during his residency, head to our Facebook page here.
My family and I were privileged to be the first official residents in the Sam Rit residency. It was very exciting but quite daunting going into the unknown, but Elysha, her family and friends went out of their way to make us feel welcome and comfortable.
We integrated into the village, communicating as best we could, going for walks and bike rides, seeing the country, the farming practices and the people. We soon learned to say sawatee Ka (hello), smile and ‘wai’ to everyone except children. When riding a bike we ‘wai’d’ with one hand. The greetings in Thailand are very formal with no touching but by the end of our stay we had introduced our new friends to the Aussie hug.
Our holiday seemed very relaxed but we experienced and saw so much in such a short time it’s hard to know where to start and when to stop. My goal was to collect ideas for an exhibition, to experience an authentic Thailand away from any tourists. I also found the time to paint about a dozen of these ideas which I will later develop into larger paintings. I found the studio a very spacious and airy room to work in.
My husband had the most relaxed holiday he has had in twenty years and we sent our 11 year old daughter to the village school during her school holidays. She enjoyed making friends and the Sam Rit compound was rarely without some of her friends.
We left, not without a few tears, promising to return.
Sam Rit Residents
This blog is a space for past residents to reflect on their stay in Sam Rit