Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Imaginary deaths, real grief: Thai artist, fans honour anime heroes



Imaginary deaths, real grief: Thai artist, fans honour anime heroes

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Palette Artspace art curator Watjanasin Charuwattanakitti saluting an oil portrait. AFP

Imaginary deaths, real grief: Thai artist, fans honour anime heroes

Portraits of dozens of anime characters, each with a small altar for fans to leave flowers, adorn the wall of a Bangkok gallery – a tribute to fictional heroes who met an untimely death.

The 2D Afterlife exhibit is made up of 50 of these creations from artist Jinnipha Nivasabut, who wanted to mourn the deaths of her favourite characters in popular shows and manga series.

The core concept “is to explore the idea of why the deaths of these fictional characters could have such an impact on real people,” the 22-year-old anime lover said.

Eschewing anime’s cartoon style, she instead painted the fallen heroes with the realism of stately oil portraits.

“In my memories, I see these characters as real persons. They’re like members of my family so I decided to draw these characters to resemble real persons as much as possible,” she said.

Japanese anime and manga enjoy mainstream popularity in the kingdom, with frequent conventions held in pre-pandemic Bangkok that would draw massive crowds of cosplayers.

Jinnipha said she wanted her work to not just serve as fan art, but as a participation experience for both her and the massive fan base supporting each series.

Below each portrait, a small shelf acting as an altar allows the public to place flowers and Fanta soda drinks – typical Thai offerings to the dead.

Sasha Braus, a beloved character from the ultra-popular Attack on Titan series, had a potato left on her shelf – a reference to her love for food on the show that earned her the nickname “Potato Girl”.

“They know that she loved potatoes so one of them came here and put it on the shelf for her,” said gallery visitor Kullanit Assawawongkasem, 19, who added that she was “devastated” when the character was killed.

But “seeing these portraits, especially of Sasha, I’m not exactly sad,” she said.

“It’s the opposite – I’m kind of glad that people still think of her.”

The exhibit, hosted at Palette Artspace in Bangkok, ends on August 3.

MOST VIEWED

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • Chinese may be first in tourism revival: PM

    Cambodia's tourism industry is gearing up to roll out the red carpet for Chinese travellers after Prime Minister Hun Sen on September 17 indicated that the Kingdom could soon throw open its doors to international holidaymakers vaccinated against Covid-19 – starting with guests from China. Cambodia Chinese

  • Four-pillar approach in reopening of tourism: PM

    Cambodia is drawing up a four-strategy approach to promptly restore domestic and international tourism activity and put the industry on a transition pathway to a sustainable and inclusive model that is resistant to future crises, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen. The prime minister made

  • Airline says ready for green light to reopen international tourism

    Sky Angkor Airline Co Ltd on September 21 said it is ready to transport South Korean and Chinese tourists to the Kingdom once the Cambodian government makes good on plans to reopen its borders to vaccinated travellers. The Siem Reap-based airline made the remark during a

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.

  • Cambodian bride ‘badly treated, held captive’ by Chinese man seeks help

    A Cambodian woman who travelled to China to marry a Chinese man there was “badly treated” by her husband’s family and then had to be rescued and will be returned to Cambodia to ensure her safety. The rescue operation came about after the 25-year-old