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A painting of Ajarn Fua Haripitak, Thai National Artist

"My art is inspired by passion, faith and sincerity. In creating art, I am guided by the quest for genuine aesthetic beauty hidden in nature." ........ Fua (Tongyoo) Haripitak (1910 – 1993), Thai National Artist, 1985 (1st ever named)

Ajarn Fua was born in 22 April 1910 in Thonburi as a son of a court painter who had served under Phya Anusat Chitrakorn. He studied art at Bangkok's Poh Chang School of Arts and Crafts for four years, before deciding to leave the school when he found that the teaching method there was too academic. After that, Ajarn Fua went to study with Silpa Bhirasri (the founder of Silpakorn University) and graduated from the School of Fine Arts (prior to its establishment as Silpakorn University).
From 1940 to 1946, Ajarn Fua held a scholarship from Thanomsakdi Kridakorn to study at Visva Bharati University in West Bengal, India. When returning to Thailand, he served at Silpakorn University. Meanwhile, he won gold medals at the 1st (1949) and 2nd (1950) National Exhibitions of Art, for "Petchaburi" (a tempera on paper) and "Portrait of Madame Rienpracha" (an oil on canvas).
From 1954 to 1956, Ajarn Fua was granted a scholarship by the Italian government to study at the L'Accademia Di Belle Arti (Academy of Fine Art) in Rome. During this period, he conducted experiments using various painting techniques including chalk, colored pencils, ink, and the palette knife. His subjects were mostly Italian landscapes but also nude, abstract and cubist styles.
Ajarn Fua was recognized as a pioneer in Thailand's modern art and was awarded the Gold Medal at the National Exhibition of Art in 1957.
Ajarn Fua is known as a noted art restorer. This is due to his work on restoration of the Tripitaka Library at Wat Rakang Kositaram temple (a.k.a. Wat Bang Wah Yai, built during the reign of King Rama I) during 1969 to 1982. Not only that he partially paid for this restoration with his own limited funds, but also the restoration project cost him his health. The right side of his face and his right arm were stricken with paralysis.
In 1985, Ajarn Fua is one of the first four persons that were elected to Thailand's rank of "National Artists".
In 1991, Ajarn Fua was admitted to Siriraj Hospital. He passed away in October 1993 due to inflamed blood vessels of the brain.
The contents in this article are adapted from Wikipedia by Gregory Galligan (Ph.D., Advisory and Special Projects Director, Thai Art Archives, July 2011) and Facebook.com/pages/Fua-Haripitak.
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