Napaphat Niamkhunthod paints impressionistic surreal landscapes that evoke dreamy flashbacks to Thailand of old. Ever since she was nine years old, Noi (Napaphat Niamkhunthod) knew she would leave her native Nakhon Ratchasima and move to Phuket.
“I remember my school teacher telling the class about the crystal clear waters and the beautiful Phuket beaches. I knew I had to go there. He planted a seed in me.” She says with the smile as she thinks back to her early school days in the country.
That was back in the nineteen eighties and it took her twelve years or so to do it but she did it. She set up home and a painting studio on Laguna beach.
“You could do that then, many people were living and working on the beach, life was freer in those days,” she tells me. “I would see the sea as I woke up in the morning and watch it as I went to sleep at night. I would see storms and fine weather and all of it in between. The sea is part of me now”We all know the attraction. Is it not what brings us all to this island? And what high prices we will pay to be able to watch the sunset over the Andaman from our balconies. “Oh, and I know the power of it too” Noi adds “Because in 2004 the tsunami took away everything from me. It left me with nothing” and here Noi pauses to think “It left me with my life, my memory and my imagination. That is what I have and that’s all an artist needs” she says philosophically. After witnessing first-hand the devastation of 2004 Noi moved a few kilometres inland and set up a new studio and gallery where she works today.“Yes, you can take me away from the sea, but you can’t take the sea away from me” she says. And so if you cannot watch the ocean from your villa or if your condo doesn’t have a sea-view, Noi will paint you one. It will be a real one from the heart.
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