Elina Melloul

multidisciplinary , writing

The mirror of Sarisa

 “I just want my art to create a movement in the society,” said Sarisa Dhammalangka, a trans artist from Chiang Mai. Movement of ideas, bodies and mentalities, her art is dedicated to open people mind.

First freelance translator then artist, Sarisa did not make art her main carrier because she wants it to remain her true passion in life.  Art is a way for her to give her own answer to philosophical issues in life. As a trans person, finding her identity has been a real challenge even though, today, she is more than confidant with whom she is and wants to be.

At first sight, her main art subject is the “gender issue”. However, Sarisa does not like to talk about it as an issue. Indeed, the real problem is the human mentality of nowadays society about the gender, and more particularly about the “third” one. According to her, before modern society, the third gender was accepted.  Now, a lot of people are afraid of it, without any particular reasons. Through her art, she wants people to realize that “what we should be can be different from what we really want to be.”

In her artworks, she creates oftenly a link between animals and humans. She would like to break with the first reflex that most of us have when we meet a new human being:  why do we always need to know first, which sex gender a person belong to, whereas we don’t care about this information for animals? Why can’t we accept human being the way they are? Why the behaviour of someone needs to match with the preconceived behaviour ideas that a specific sex gender needs to carry on in the society?

Through her artworks, Sarisa confronts her audience to practise self-examination, by revealing intimate questions that she used to bother her about her own identity.

'Untitled', drawing on Japanese paper, 60x40 cm

However, it is important to know that, compare to others country, Thailand accepts “lady boy” pretty well. Around 2% of the population, they are a part of the nowadays society. According to me, the mentality of the Thai society is more open minded about the third gender than in others many countries. We could say, metaphorically, that Thai people consider each other the same way they consider an animal:  first the person as a human being and then its sex gender. However, even if the judgement of the society is less strong than in other countries, a lot of progress still need to be make, and that’s what denounce the artist.

More broadly than just the third gender problematic, Sarisa wants to fight against artificial thoughts and mentality. The artist concentrates her work on women bodies because they are the first victims of the society judgment: in fact, advertisements, films, magazines, play a role in the society by suggesting them how the perfect body should be. 

Then, the surgery becomes the next step to access to this unconscious body fantasy. That’s why; most of her artworks represent not only women bodies, but also draw surgeries.  She knows that this tool, particularly popular in Thailand, is very tempting, even seducing: it seems easier to change of physics and becoming a perfect model of nowadays society instead of knowing truly our own identity. Even though, she considers that surgery can also be a bridge to become more confident about itself, it is a very dangerous tool: “it’s changing you forever.

Because she has already been tempting to become someone else, she knows that resisting to surgery is not easy, but she found a way to accept who she is without artificial tool.

'Surgerian Man', Performance in Digital photo print, 100x100 cm

Moreover, it seems easier to transmit a message to the society through women bodies. In fact, its curves make it more esthetical and elegant than a man body. Women body is also a representation of the mother, figure of protection, kindness and self-commitment.  For that reason, people will be more open to look her artwork and sincerely examine it without fearing the nudity.

Sarisa creates art for express herself, in order to express her thoughts, but mostly for the others. She wants to transmit her experience to the audience in order to awake people about certain issues. Creates art is always a thoughtful process, full of meaning. More than just a hobby, be an artist is her way to defend her convictions. For Sarisa “art is universal” because “art is life”: everywhere, at any time, art has been imagined, though out and finally, created.  


Elina Melloul


Sarisa's website:  http://oshinsite.weebly.com

Dec 13, 2017

Other journal

  • Empowerment artworks of an artistic investigator

    When Sutthirat Supaparinya was a little girl, she wanted to be a scientist. But, around 14 years old, when a teacher at school asked to their students what they wanted to become in the future, one of her classmate said she would like to be a scientist. It made her change her direction to an artistic career instead.

    Elina Melloul
    Jan 21, 2018

  • Confessional art of Methagod

    Methagod is a young Thai artist who lives in Chiang Mai, native of Ubonratchathani. After he studied law school, he decided to dedicate himself to his first passion, art. Even though the two professions seem opposed, both of them try to highlight taboos’ issues of the society. Law works give justice and restore truth stories whereas artists denounce and claim, through their art, what they need to reveal.

    Elina Melloul
    Nov 30, 2017

  • Printing by Doing

    « I consider myself an art educator and an art maker rather than an artist »
    This sentence have been said by Surachai Ekphalakorn, a contemporary artist and a Professor in the department of Visual Arts, in the faculty of fine and applied Arts, at the Chualolgkorn University in Bangkok.
    This passionate teacher dedicates his work to his students through art practise researches: Indeed, he has developed teaching theory in order to improve the quality of art classes in University. Because preparing his students to the art world is crucial for the future art scene of Thailand, more than just teaching and transmit knowledge, he would like to give them some human values.

    Elina Melloul
    Nov 21, 2017

  • Portrait [Archives of Dialogue: Seeing and Being] By jiandyin

    Portrait [Archives of Dialogue: Seeing and Being] is an exhibition which introduces the on going project of jiandyin's Dialogue : Seeing and Being, exposed in Gallery Seescape from 1st September 2017 until 15th October 2017. The artists showed all kinds of archives: painting, videos, sculpture and photograph. Indeed, through this diversify art supports; the artists wanted to express the complexity and the diversity of human being.

    Elina Melloul
    Nov 9, 2017


About the writer …

Elina Melloul is a French intern in Chiang Mai Art Conversation. During these next couple months, she will write different reviews about cultural events in Chiang Mai such as exhibitions, festivals, art books, and create some videos, which present the work of different artists. 

As a student in political sciences, she does not have any professional skills about art.  However, in these reviews, she will provide a sociological analysis about art’s world. Through her works, she will try to explain the different art projects, which compose the art scene of Chiang Mai.

Let’s discover what can offer “the cultural town of Thailand” for the art lover.

If you are an artist and if you are interested in having a review about your work, please contact her.

e-mail: [email protected]