The Garden of God

Artist : Kriangkrai Kongkhanun 
The Garden of God, Chapter 6 : Fire Lion
Acrylic on canvas, 80 x 60 cm, 2017

The Buddha found that human suffering did not happen coincidently, but it was caused by a reason, as well as other phenomena which resulted from people’s actions. Karma is the law of logic; it is an international law for living things. Those causes of suffering are not beyond human control[1]; suffering which is like sinking into the bottom of a mind full of emotions like fear, suspicion, confusion, madness, desire, etc., all of which are combined inseparably. Suffering also includes what is abnormal which may be caused by imagination or reality. To sense the songs of the soul causes humans to want to become untangled from earthly things in order to find the serene land.
“The Garden of God” is a journey of the state of mind. I used the falling state of the human mind to create a mysterious kingdom filled with imaginative dimensions. Its shape was modified by my perceptions of humans, monsters, plants and beasts. Inspiration was gathered from Buddhist stories, such as the teaching in The Three Kingdoms, in order to portray the mysterious kingdom. Thoughts of this heavenly kingdom by men may not completely cast away the desires hidden inside them.
Humans have endless desires; therefore, the symbols represent different meanings. For example, the deity, heaven, animals and sacred objects represent the illusions created to fulfil needs. Thus, I created the shapes in my imagination based on ancient Thai, Bhutanese and Tibetan art and developed the story, while including methods to express the strong visual elements using vivid colors and symbols to represent the subject’s state. 
Pixiu represents the secured desires, happiness and wealth. It is believed to be the sacred animal which protects and dispels danger, evil spirits and bad things, as well as attracting fortune and wealth.

Artist : Kriangkrai Kongkhanun
The Garden of God, Chapter 3 : Pi Xiu
Acrylic on canvas, 120 x 80 cm, 2017

Garuda represents longevity, power, might and intelligence.
The owl is an animal scared of light and always hides itself in the dark shadow. Therefore, it represents Satan who is known for being the King of the Dark. It is believed that owls like to lure other animals to the huntsman’s trap the way Satan lures humanity[2].

Artist : Kriangkrai Kongkhanun 
The Garden of God, Chapter 5 : Immortal Garuda
Acrylic on canvas, 80 x 60 cm, 2017

The scales represent a person trying to build one’s own shields to protect oneself. The shield represents precepts, which are created to warn people of sin. However, sometimes humans cannot block their senses from the impact of their feelings.
The snake symbolizes evil and deception. The snake in the middle of the heart represents the evil human mind which allows negative emotions to take over.
The eyes represent the people who are suspicious of their wrongdoings, who always keep watch and cannot live happily. The eyes falling on the ground represent the mind which becomes removed from the body.

The flower represents life, birth and breath, and it also symbolizes blood and loss.

The mask represents concealment. People who wear the mask are like people who try to conceal their dark sides. The mask cannot really conceal the true self for the people who commit sin and try to hide it. However, the sin will haunt them and prevent them from being happy. The corrupted mind will drag the person to the bottom.

The primeval Christian-style bird represents “the flying spirit”. Before, the artist drew birds according to the species, all species of birds represented the soul which was located opposite the object. Using the bird as the spiritual symbol can be traced back to the ancient Egyptian-era when birds were used as spiritual symbols[3].

The spider represents the serpent because the serpent prepares the trap to trap astray humans the way the spider spin its web to catch its prey. The spider symbolizes malevolence of bad people. Its web will catch and trap the prey. The web itself symbolizes vulnerability of humans[4].
The fire ball represents the burning sexual desire which is released without control and cannot be kept inside.

Artist : Kriangkrai Kongkhanun
The Garden of God, Chapter 1 : Golden Snake
Acrylic on canvas, 80 x 120 cm, 2017

These works of mine started from the “knots” within the depth of my mind. I questioned myself, connected the dots in society and finally came back to solve my own problems. These works represent the ways I loosened the knots in my mind by thinking of and considering myself and the contradicting state in my imagination which was hidden. I conveyed the meaning of desires using the stories combined with concepts and emotions through living things in the land of spirit in order to encourage the release of things in order to reach the kingdom of happiness. 

Kriangkrai Kongkhanun

[1] William Hart, The Art of Living (Bangkok: Pimdee, 2010), 49.
[2] George Ferguson, Signs and Symbols in Christian Art, 18.
[3] George Ferguson, Signs and Symbols in Christian Art, 3.
[4] George Ferguson, Signs and Symbols in Christian Art, 22.

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