Bangkok, 14 May, 2020, at 10.00 Hrs. – What started as a simple idea of one man on Ko Phangan has warmed the hearts of foreign travellers left stranded on the island because of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
Initiated and created by Siam Healing Centre, the project promotes local Thai artist Chatuphum Loosiri (also known as ‘Caveman’ on the island) whose painting images on discarded coconut palm parts (‘Mok Prao’) are displayed along a roadside on Phra Prao Road. This put a smile on the faces of those who past there, perfectly capturing the Thai concept of ‘Nam Jai’ that can offer moral support and extend generosity during COVID-19.
Chatuphum ‘s effort quickly went viral once the number of coconut images grew and became a popular social media check in spot. He began offering those who stopped by hand gel to clean their hands and then let them try their own hand at painting.
“It has helped bond us together in close friendship during the crisis. We share the gift of happiness, smiles and laughter together. When I draw or paint, it helps me stay calm and relaxed, so I thought it might do the same for other.
“Some people might not be aware they can draw, and for those who are new to it, I am happy to demonstrate basic drawing techniques to them,” he added.
To date almost 60 people and more than 20 countries have contributed to the now impressive work of art.
When Thai people say that a person has ‘Nam Jai’, it means that this person is happy to make sacrifices for friends and extend hospitality to strangers. Chatuphum started out with just hand gel and painting lessons then offered to help more when he learned about foreign tourists in need. For those he found really in trouble regarding accommodation or food, he has taken in and shared what he has in the spirit of being generous and warm hearted to others.