In the midst of anti-government protests, military coups, and a palace that does not seem united, I was deeply intrigued by the shrines dedicated to the Thai royal family that adorned public spaces, commercial and government buildings, and almost every home I encountered. Growing up in a society that allows for freedom of expression, displays of adoration based on one’s religious beliefs or political affiliation can sometimes provoke hatred, aggression, and unrest. However, in the Thai culture, I found the opposite to be true. One commonality I noticed among all genders, ages, and social classes was a deep love and genuine respect for the monarchy. I soon discovered that their adoration for their ninth King and Queen embodied cultural values central to the Thai identity for over 700 years. The bond between the Thai people and this principal institution is deeply rooted in the history of Thai nationhood itself. It is also what the King himself has done for his people of all classes, which has earned him and the monarchy the love and respect of Thais.
Each day I made the decision to enter a new space and meet people I would never have otherwise encountered, documenting their daily surroundings and the shrines of veneration offered to their royalty.
No. IX is a testimony to the space of reflection and an exploration of the cultural and historical relationship spanning generations of Thai citizens, their everyday surroundings, and their admiration of their ninth monarch.