The House of the Raja: Splendour and Desolation in Thailand's Deep South
In deepest Southern Thailand, bordering Malaysia, is the rarely visited province of Narathiwat, home of ongoing conflict between Thailand and Muslim separatists. Once part of the Islamic Sultanate, this area was only integrated into Siam following the Anglo-Siam treaty of 1909. On a photographic expedition for a magazine article, locals led the acclaimed Spanish photographer (now resident in Asia) Xavier Comas to a huge rambling structure that had once been, he was told, the magnificent palace of Tengu Shamsuddin the Raja of Legeh. Now inhabited by a shaman, who invited the photographer to stay, and local characters including an archaeologist, research student and a collector, the magical lost Palace of the Rajah of Legeh slowly revealed herself and seemed to encapsulate the shadows, splendour and desolation of this historic but conflicted region. AUTHOR: Xavier Comas is a visual artist originally from Spain and now resident in Asia. His work has been published worldwide and he has had exhibitions in Europe and Asia. The Singapore Art Museum hosted his Pasajero exhibition and acquired his Jiutamai series for their permanent collection. His work has been featured by many prominent magazines worldwide, including Spain's La Vangaurdia, the Japanese Art Magazine Quotation and the USA's Time. The photographs that make up The House of the Raja were exhibited in Bangkok in 2011 and it is up for discussion whether it will, in the future, travel to Europe. 100 b/w photographs
Xavier Comas, is a fine arts graduate of the University of Barcelona, whose work has been exhibited in Europe and Asia, where he now lives, and featured by prominent magazines such as the Japanese art magazine ‘Quotation,’ the Spanish La Vanguardia Sunday’s Magazine, Courrier International, Asia Literary Review, USA’s Time magazine, Lens Culture, NZZ of Switzerland and GUP Magazine among others. The Singapore Art Museum exhibited his installation ‘Pasajero’ in 2009 and acquired his ‘Jiutamai’ series as a permanent collection. His work ‘Tokyo up, down,’ a random photographic exploration in elevators, was exhibited at Noorderlicht Photofestival 2011 and by the Museum of Estonian Architecture in Tallinn, Estonia. The House of the Raja has been widely exhibited and is his first book both as photographer and writer.
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