Black and White
Trip Start May 04, 2011
125Trip End Oct 08, 2012
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The last day together we were on a mission to find Baan Dam aka "Black Temple." It's actually the art gallery of local artist Thawan Duchanee. It is more like a compound made up of 40 small buildings; the largest Lanna style vihara represents the dark side, painted charcoal black. Each displays his work combining teak, animal skulls, bones, skins and feathers with a constant phallic theme. Probably intentional, it is quite difficult to find the correct turn off for this place, but if you have clear directions it is worth the visit.
The name Black Temple is a perfect contrast to the White Temple or Wat Run Khun located just south of Chiang Rai. Another unconventional masterpiece created and funded by the re-known national artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, the White Temple actually functions as a Buddhist and Hindu temple. An extravagant, ornate and almost blinding white structure surrounded by a pond on the outside doesn’t entirely prepare you for the contemporary murals found on the inside. Although finding it hard to comprehend, this is still a temple. Therefore I was forbidden to photograph the artistic paintings depicting American pop culture with images of Michael Jackson, Spiderman, Avatar, The Matrix and even the emblazoned twin towers. All I can say is if you are in Northern Thailand, it is something to witness.
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