19 May 2024

The huge painting in Sepia colour which will tell the amazing story of the Tham Luang rescue operation is almost completed – thanks to the joint efforts of more than 200 artists under the supervision of national artist Chalermchai  Kositpipat.


Chalermchai said Sunday that the historic painting, titled The Hero, was expected to be completed tomorrow after which it would need some finishing touches which would take another 10 days.

The painting will require a space of 40 x 50 metres to be put on display at a museum-cum-pavilion to be built at Tham Luang cave in Mae Sai district of the northern province of Chiang Rai.

Chalermchai and Mr Tunya Netithammakul, director-general of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, visited Tham Luang cave on Sunday to survey the area for the construction of the museum-cum-pavilion that the national artist pledged to fund, estimated at about 10 million baht, from his own pocket.

A potential site in front of the cave which has a space of 40 x 50 metres has  been chosen, but a permission will be required from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.

The museum-cum-pavilion will be designed by Mr Somlak Pantibun, a rural artist, who will also supervise the construction.  The painting and the statue of Lieutenant Commander Saman Gunan, a former Navy SEAL member who died during the rescue operation, which will be sculpted by Mr Saravuth Kammoonchai, will be put on display at the museum.

The size of the statue is twice the actual size of the former SEAL member.  It will be mounted on a foundation about 180 cm high.

Chalermchai explained that he chose Saman’s picture when he was in dive suit with an oxygen tank on his back and holding his cap on the left hand as a model for the statue.

“The picture shows the determination to get into the cave.  And I want the chosen site to tell Ja Sam’s (Saman) thought, the smile and the determination with his face toward the cave entrance and surrounded by 13 Moo Pa members,” said the national artist.