Windows at the White Building (2014) By Orawan Arunrak
a series of 20 drawings, pen on paper, name card size 5.4x9 cm
Before I started drawing views of the windows at the White Building, I first tried to draw my portrait, and I put it on the wall in the hallway, and included some information about what I wanted to do in the White Building. I wrote down some details about myself including my phone number, and explained that I would love to go inside your house to draw and get to know you. But no one called me after that, so I brought myself to draw on the street outside the White Building, drawing the views of the windows. And then people could see what I was doing, so they came to talk and ask questions, and it made sense to get to know each other too, so they felt more comfortable to talk. And yes, I could ask them to please bring me inside their house. It’s kind of a conversation on the street, but my language is drawing, and this is something that people enjoy to see and are curious about, so this work is not really mean I am drawing only the window, but it’s kind of opening people’s minds, too.
part of Come In (2014)
at the White Building, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Table borrowed from neighbors, pen on paper and paper notebooks, lotus flowers, vase, fruits, mat, cushions
Orawan Arunrak undertook a residency at the White Building neighbourhood in central Phnom Penh, hosted by artist-run space Sa Sa Art Projects. Orawan’s residency focused on the use of portraiture as a means to understand people. Through drawing her temporary neighbours in their homes at the White Building, she gained a privileged insight into this creative community. Come In was the title given to the work created during this residency, comprising several series of drawings that illustrate the interiors of homes at the White Building, the exterior view of their windows, faces of children in the community, and simple materials by which many residents earn their daily living by selling food on the streets of Phnom Penh. The drawings were arranged in a kind of “Open Studio” installation in the White Building to share with Orawan’s neighbours and new friends. Orawan enjoyed a mutual exchange with the villagers and surrounding community, which can be seen in the drawings.