Suhaidee Sata is an artist from Pattani whose art pieces include charcoal sketches of guns used by security officials in the deep South. He creates politically charged art that highlights ithe political unrest in the three Southern provinces in Thailand.
In Symbols of Violence, Sata has used coconut fibre as the main materials to create gun sculptures. Known as a highly flammable natural fuel, coconut fibre is a touch of sarcasm that challenge the power of the active weapon. Unlike a real gun, when it catches fire, it burns gradually but massively.
Patani is the geographical area known in modern-day Thailand as the provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and parts of Songkhla. The region contains the political tensions it has become famous for but also for the strength of its politicised creative art practices.
The political tension here refers to the emergence of a separatist insurgency movement in 2004, when resistance to Buddhist rule in the Muslim-majority region arose. More than 6,500 people, most of them civilians, have died in separatist violence since.
Even though the guns are sculptures rendered from plant fibres, there is still a visceral reaction to coming face to face with the barrel of a gun as you emerge at the top of an escalator. Combined with the knowledge that over 6,500 people have died in conflicts makes the effect even more intense.