Monday, 23 January 2017

Diane Durongpisitkul | Chinese Opera In Thailand

Photo © Diane Durongpisitkul - All Rights Reserved
"I'm a wanderer who happens to own a pretty nice camera." 
I like that quote because its simplicity and humor...and I also like the length and breadth of Diane Durongpisitkul's photographic work....and admire its variety.

I feature Diane's work on the backstage world of a travelling Chinese Opera in Thailand, as this genre is also one I am interested in, and hopeful of finding enough time to start a long term project on before it evaporates from the pressures of modernity. These performers seem caked in make-up, and carry on an art form under threat by changing cultural habits and demographics.

Chinese opera -aside from China and Taiwan- is progressively getting forgotten, and soon may vanish as new generations ignore it, and are disinterested in this ancient 'imported' art form.

The Chinese Opera troupes around Thailand are usually commissioned by Chinese temples, and may travel the country extensively from Bangkok to the far east and deep south. Some of these dwindling troupes tour Thailand for six months, and another six months they perform in various regions of Malaysia, not stopping for a holiday.

A very talented travel photographer, Diane Durongpisitkul was born and grew up in Australia, and holds Australian and Thai nationalities. Her innumerable galleries attest to her voracious appetite for ‘off the beaten track’ destinations such as India, Bangladesh, Iran, Myanmar and Ethiopia...to mention but a few. She prefers to remain in a specific destination for months at a time to really get to know the area, and understand it. 

As a post script, here's a short clip by Star TV (Malaysia) about Chinese Opera in the country.