Street arts are considered as a new field of arts that are popular and created for various purposes. In Thailand, street arts are connected with local development for making as tourist attractions and presenting stories on the way of life, culture, and history of communities that are reflected through pictures of people’s life, individuals and activities. If artists are able to include the stories of local context with their artworks interestingly, street arts will be able to approach to people’s mind and be preferred by local people. Moreover, they will be able to attract tourists to visit and enjoy with those street arts as well as happened with many street arts in southern border provinces that have been gradually created during the past 3-4 years.
Yala Bird City Street Art was launched in 2017 under the concept of enjoying with arts in Bird City whereas local identity and the way of life of local people were developed to be outstanding as being Bird City. Currently, there are totally 14 street art areas where audiences can enjoy them continuously and conveniently along the walls of the houses in communities of Muang District in Yala Province, i.e., Prachanukul Community on Nual Sakul Road or Old Raman Cinema Alley. The example of highlighted similar paintings is 3-eyes character of Alex Face created as a baby with 3 eyes who is sleeping and holding a bird giving cozy and love feeling helping to build good feeling to one another. Moreover, there are also paintings of a bird flying to peace, a large elephant conveying Yala City connecting with the elephant of King Rama IX, etc. While enjoying with both sides of street arts, tourists can enjoy with pleasant sightseeing of houses and the way of life of Yala people.
The Color of Kolok was launched in Su-ngai Kolok District, Narathiiwat Province, in December 2018, along the walls of a park located in front of the border checkpoint of Su-ngai Kolok. This project was led by Akekarat Nak-anukroah, a famous graffiti artist plus with his Thai and foreign artist friends consisted of 16 Brazilian, English, and Malaysian artists to create some street arts (graffiti) mixed with local atmosphere reflecting the way of culture of southern border as new check-in points giving colorful sightseeing and tourism atmosphere to Su-ngai Kolok District. Every artist participated in this project for free whereas Su-ngai Kolok City Municipality, associations, clubs, and local entrepreneurs sponsored the budget for promoting this colorful activity for Su-ngai Kolok.
Not far from Lim Kor Niew Shrine, the important place of Pattani, both sides of A Noru Road are full of old houses that are the location of the first Chinese community of Pattani called Kue Da Jee Nor area. These old houses are renovated to be beautiful and alive again and their walls are painted with street arts including the painting of a dragon crawling along the wall, the painting of the way of life of Pattani people with the sea, and the painting of a Kolae boat on the beach. In 2019, these street arts were created by cooperation of local people in order to make Pattana livelier. Some of them were created by simple drawing and some of them may be created by using advance artistic techniques. Moreover, there were also some artworks located in some alleys and along the canal.
Besides creating street arts at over 10 locations for celebrating 111th Anniversary of Betong City in 2017, in January 2020, over 30 graffiti artists and street artists throughout Thailand mutually colored Betong City in Yala Province to communicate the way of life, multicultural society, diversity of Betong people, and symbols through graphic arts and cartoon arts reflecting amusement of characters of artists at over 30 locations. These street art locations became new landmarks enabling tourists to spend more time in Betong City for taking a walk and taking photos of various locations while enjoying with the way of life of Betong people in alleys. Some locations also consist of small restaurants of local people and tourists can share those photos on social media. It is believed that it will stimulate travel and build bustle tourism atmosphere.
At the end of September 2020, two famous artists, Abdul Hakeem Yuzo and Tle Teerayut Puechpen, a.k.a. “TRK”, the street artists, under initiation of Instructor Jirawut Duang-in from Silpakorn University who was born in Yala Province with desire to reflect the truth of peace in three southern border provinces. Therefore, Black bridge or Yala Railway Bridge was chosen as the location of this project to tell the stories connecting 3 races including Thai-Buddhist, Chinese, and Muslim, through street arts.
“Pattani’s Beautiful Flower and Bangkok’s Yogi” is an artwork of Abdul Hakeem Yuzo. It is the painting of an elephant’s head conveying uniqueness of Thainess. A flower connected with the head of the elephant is the flower pattern called Bu Ngor Pattani representing beauty of strength reflecting identity of southern border areas. Moreover, there are also a numerous number of street arts from the former artists along both sides attracting tourists to take photos, especially when a train passes by.
Don’t miss to find a chance to enjoy with street arts at any place because street arts are compared as outdoor museums of each city. They do not only attract people but they also act as the gates to the important concerns hidden in society, culture, or politics of the locations of such street arts. Although it is easy to take some beautiful photos of street arts for uploading on Instagram, it is also worthwhile to enjoy with each street art for a moment to consider on its hidden message conveyed by the artist, especially when they are in southern border provinces with sustainable peace as desired by everyone.