Kanrapee Chokpaiboon: The Good Place
The Good Place is my observation of Varanasi, a holy city in India. Varanasi, or “the holy land” as the locals call it, is known as “The Land of a Million Gods”. The Ganga (Ganges River) flows through Varanasi, dividing it into a ‘heaven’ side and a ‘hell’ side: in Hindu belief, Ganga is the place where heaven connects to the earth.
I first put myself as an observer and let myself flow along with the hymns of the city. As I walked through the city, I was captivated –– it was love at first sight. After my fourth trip, I gathered all the accumulated images and, over a couple years, worked on developing a visual language to portray the essence of Varanasi. I found a connection between my work and the city, in its culture, religious beliefs, spirituality, and social constructs, similar to those of Thailand –– all of which form the basis of much of my work. The images that I create with flash lie at the border of reality and fantasy. They reveal how the supernatural seeps into the city and its people, even in the age of technology. To the people of Varanasi, religious belief is one of the pillars of life, and this hasn’t changed much for the past 5,000 years: people still bathe in the Ganga to purify their souls. Stemming from Hinduism, the caste system is deep-rooted here and is still strictly abided by the people. In order to be closer to the hands of gods and attain salvation, many want to spend their very last moment in life in Varanasi.