Art and reflections by Bo Thai
from the third world to the first world
my third eye open up to this new world
new order of migrants and cheap labor
freedom or oppression, it’s all a blur
This series of art works derive from my (B) C(o)nscious series. The artworks contain the themes of immigration, capitalism, and self-introspection. It collectively tells a story of a young boy who immigrated to the U.S. It displays a visual of the boy’s journey growing up, learning, and reflecting. The series start with a version of the Statue of Liberty and ends with another version of the Statue of liberty.
I created “Statue of What” out of confusion and introspection. I was trying to understand how the U.S. could function as the land of opportunity that draws people toward their ‘American Dream’, but also act as an agent of oppression at the same time. The writing within the drawing says ‘What do you stand for’ which is a question I am asking this country but also asking myself at the same time. Being an immigrant in the U.S., sometimes I feel like I have left my family, culture, and friends behind to aspire higher. And it feels selfish and individualistic to rise above with these sacrifices. Statue of What grounds upon the question of what does this country stand for, what do I stand for, and what do you stand for.
This piece is about being above the norm and the conformed. As a Thai immigrant, I did not fit in the culture when I moved here. I felt the need to change myself and to be like others. This piece is about taking pride in who you are and the influences that made you. In this picture, the head is floating above the city--literally and metaphorically being above the norm and the conformity.
Following the light is a piece about urbanization. The picture is supposed to be a lantern that attracts insects to fly toward it not knowing that it is a trap, but in this context, it is the city lights that lure people toward it. I’ll leave it as that.
Public Gods is a piece about the 2016 election but also about how we [as in society] view celebrities and politicians and how we give people credibility because of their fame rather than their character.
This piece is a collaboration between me and Cesar Corral and our journey as undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Cesar Corral was the one who did the red and blue graphic and I was the one who did the drawing in this collaboration. This piece contains different ideologies and quotes that will make you think, but it most fundamentally shows how people from different backgrounds and stories share similar journeys, sorrows, thoughts.
“Just a traveling man converting his negatives to positives and putting them on paper”
Bo Thai is an artist, activist, and a student. He migrated to the US at the age of 13 in 2009 and has lived in his newfound home since then. In addition to advocating for immigrant rights, Bo writes poetry and creates artwork through the power of the pen. Bo uses his art as a healing process by expressing his emotions, ideology, identity, and stories. He is inspired by surrealism, graffiti, Thai art, and cultural folk art.