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Thawan Duchanee's visit to Fukuoka

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Thawan Duchanee, the laureate for the Fukuoka Prize 2001, visited Fukuoka on 28th July 2014.

We had an opportunity to interview Mr. Thawan Duchanee about the Fukuoka Prize, impression of Fukuoka and his current activities.

 

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“I do nothing but paint”
---What kind of activities or artworks are you currently engaged in?
I'm a painter. I do nothing but paint. For the rest, as a National Artist, I help my country by giving lectures and opinions on art. I also accept people from all over the world who come to the exchange of painting, culture and art in depth: "in depth" means penetration into civilization. I don't do anything concerned with money, finance or profit. After I became a National Artist and received your prize, I'm doing only one thing. I'm a painter.
---Tell us about impression, memories or episodes when you received the Fukuoka Prize in 2001.
When prize is offered, people invite me to come for awarding. They would like to keep the prize for me. I usually tell, "I'm too young or not good enough for this kind of prize. I'm working for myself and my art: I'm not working for any kind of prize at all. Your prize should go to the one with great honor, older than me."
The first Fukuoka Prize was awarded to our former prime minister Kukrit PRAMOJ, who was a very good friend of mine and also my teacher. The second recipient from Thailand was M. C. Subhadradis DISKUL, who was also my professor and a great scholar in art and culture.
I felt great honor to come here. It made my heart fly like an eagle. I felt I have friends all over the world. People held exhibitions for me, and especially Mr. Kuroda (of Fukuoka Asian Art Museum) is my good friend. He was in his early 30’s at that time. Mr. Kuroda, with much general knowledge, asked me every detail about the paintings, for example, about hawk or eagle etc.
Meanwhile, my friend, Muhammad Yunus from Bangladesh, later became a Nobel Prize winner. I was happy to come back for my exhibition and Fukuoka Prize.
---Please give a message to Fukuoka citizen.
Any activities about art (in Thailand) have never paid attention to the public except me. Especially, all kinds of newspaper, TV etc. I have to say to them, "Don't come to me. Go to somebody else who is trying to establish." I don't need any publicity because I am already well known.
I established foundation. It is completely non-profit organization. I give gift, prize and money, and invite artists as residents for three months. This is the scholarship to two people per year, offering air tickets, room for living and tour exhibition. We select people from all over the world.
I'm just an old man talking about this, but I'm happy to come back here. My heart is flying. I'm coming back here again like a melody of the flute came back to bamboo. Even though it might be my last time, but my scholarship that I give will go on for the rest of my life. Even after I pass by, my son will carry on. At least two artists go to Thailand a year, and it might be you or anyone. Let me say Fukuoka is also my country too.

 

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