Who’s Afraid of Red?

To create this project I traveled from North to South of Thailand to collect varieties of common chilis available at local markets. They have different origins, names, colors, shapes, tastes, and levels of spiciness. 

The selected chilis were lightly baked to get rid of moisture, and ground into tiny pieces.  They were then brewed in concentrated alcohol and water for several days or weeks to extract capsaicin, the active component which gives the red pigments and burning sensation. After filtering the flesh out, these red organic colors were then applied in several washes onto watercolor paper.

Many Thais would say that the chili is a native plant of Thailand, but forget (or do not know) that it was imported by Europeans from South America. To me, abstract paintings from chili represent the process of shaping cultural identity that is not linear as it seems.

Year: 2019
Dimension: 56 x 76 
Materials: extracted capsaicin on water color papers
Editions: 24
Venue: PYE Space, Phayao, Thailand (2019)