CHIANG MAI – The streets of this northern city this week have been full of protests and activism, with daily events by students and artists seeking national change.
Performances began early on Sunday as Chiang Mai University students and members of the Lanyim Theater Group, CMU Drama Club and the Chiang Mai Performance Art group performed their artistic expressions of democracy and freedom of speech on the hour, every hour.
For nearly 18 hours, the group assembled at the famous Tha Pae Gate. Small groups of activists used their bodies, voices and props to express themselves in various ways.
Performers called the event “Eat (I’m) Are”. The title is an ironic take on the famous steak restaurant in Thailand called Eat Am Are.
One CMU student said the title alludes to “someone or something that has more power. And, that someone or something is trying to eat, limit or disqualify their freedom and rights”.
The performance artists came from the Lanyim Theater Group, the Chiang Mai Performance Art group and The Chiang Mai University Drama Club.
“I just want to practice my way to express freedom of speech and action in a public space as an artist, as a citizen of this country,” said student sketch artist Benz Pisuttisakand, 22.
Another young performer, Yossunthon Ruttapradid, 21, laid his head on a pillow looking up at a cardboard guillotine with the words “Lucid Dream” painted on it.
“If you ask me am I scared? I am absolutely scared, but I want to fight it,” he said.
By noon, rain had begun and remained constant all day. The activists, however, continued performing until 1 a.m. Monday.