Laughing in the face of power : Art, politics, and protest with “Artn’t”

Meet “Artn’t”

Based in Chiang Mai, “Artn’t” is a group of local artists and university students who came together through art and a mutual interest in philosophy, politics, and protests, and who aim to use creativity to challenge the powers that be and disrupt existing social norms.

They have been known since the middle of 2020 for their performance and art pieces, which have been one of the highlights of pro-democracy protests in Chiang Mai. 

Two members of the group, Withaya Khlangnin and Yotsunthon Ruttapradid, are facing royal defamation charges under Section 112 of the Thai Criminal Code, along with charges under the 1979 Flag Act, for one of their art installations exhibited at a protest in March 2021. The complaint against them were filed by the “complainer-in-chief” Srisuwan Janya.

Withaya is facing another Section 112 charge for a performance he gave in front of Chiang Mai University on 1 May 2021 to demand the right to bail for detained activists.

Prachatai speaks to Artn’t about art as a tool of communication and a challenge against the status quo. 

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