Spoon, 2019 ( g.)
Metal, paper box, colour postcard
Spoon, a collaborative sculpture between the artist and villagers of Ban Napia, in the province of Xieng Khouang, Laos, one of the most heavily bombed areas in the world during the Secret War (1964-1973). Bombing Laos was seen as a safer means of cutting off communist supply lines into Vietnam before they could be used against American troops. American bombers dropped over two million tons of cluster bombs over Laos and an estimated 30 percent of them (80 million bombs) failed to explode upon impact, these deadly items remain a persistent threat up until today.
Hearing that local villagers melted down the metal from dismantled bombs, recast into utensils for their daily use and making souvenirs to sell to tourists, Pratchaya then collaborated with a family there to create a rounded palm-sized shape and later polished it to a mirror-like plate. He paired these with postcards, purchased from MAG Unexploded Ordnance Visitor Centres which portrays a farmer holding the first harvest of cotton grown on land newly cleared up from bombs. The work was initially created as a product for sale at the museum store, for the exhibition ‘Soft Power’ at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).
Postcard Photo: © Bethan Davies/ /MAG