Major General Paween Pongsirin and the Trafficking Network of Manus Kongpan, 2019.
Felted Wool, onion-skin dye, coyote lure, wood, steel, 80" x 36" x 72".
In 2015 Thai Police Major General Paween Pongsirin defied his superiors by ousting officials in the military, government and police who were responsible for the mass murder of at least 39 refugee hostages and the trafficking of thousands. Surviving witnesses reported being threatened and tortured to keep silent about many other murdered victims, resulting in convictions of only 60% of the traffickers. Fearing for his life, Pongsirin fled Thailand and was granted asylum in Australia in 2017. The Thai military continue to deny the occurrence of human trafficking in a nation known as the global leader for it. The ringleader of the torture and human trafficking was Manus Kongpan. He received a 27-year prison sentence.
In this relief portrait, Pongsirin confronts Kongpan's parodied head on a pike. Connecting them is a path of "coyote lure", a wool used to trap animal predators. Viewers interact with the Pongsirin sculpture with reverence, placing the white felt squares on the 6'x3' path until they mount up to resemble unearthed bones. More of the felted symbols were needed to represent the many crimes of this criminal network.
Manus Kongpan and his network are identified by their many different jobs and crimes: police, teachers, supervisors, government officials, military (militia) officers; silencing, quid pro quo, trafficking, murder.