Barriers in Thailand’s Deep South Get Makeover

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Local art students from Yala Rajabhat University paint barricades along Ruammit Road in Yala town, March 28, 2016. [BenarNews]


This group of students works on a floral motif on Ruammit Road, March 28, 2016. [BenarNews]


Another group works on a serene sunset scene, March 28, 2016. [BenarNews]


Other students paint characters from Thai literature on barricades along Ruammit Road, March 28, 2016. [BenarNews]


Scenery separates shops from vehicles on Ruammit Road, March 28, 2016. [BenarNews]


Scenery brings color to this neighborhood on Ruammit Road, March 28, 2016. [BenarNews]


Unpainted barricades stand in front of shops on Ruammit Road, Yala province, March 28, 2016. [BenarNews]


A painted barricade on Ruammit Road, Yala province, celebrates life in Thailand, March 28,2016. [BenarNews]


Girls pose next to barricades, Yala province, March 28, 2016. [BenarNews]


Passersby watch local art students paint barricades, March 28, 2016. [BenarNews]

Almost two years after Yala, a town in Thailand’s insurgency-wracked Deep South, suffered a spate of motorcycle- and car-bomb attacks, students there are playing a role in promoting peace.

On March 28, they picked up brushes and painted unsightly roadside bomb barriers with attractive patterns and designs based on local themes.

Sombat Yotathip, the dean at Yala Rajabhat University, led the initiative.

The barriers were erected in direct response to bombings in the heart of the town that saw several people injured and killed in April 2014.

Unlike other parts of Thailand, especially the capital Bangkok, graffiti is relatively rare in the Deep South, especially in urban areas under strict surveillance by authorities using closed-captioned cameras. The plain white barriers still stand out, not only as a constant reminder of past violence, but also as an eyesore in the otherwise attractive town.

“Seeing all the creative colors, patterns and designs will help change the narrative, making the barriers more attractive. Looking at all the imaginative images that are being painted will help relieve people’s stress,” Sombat told BenarNews.

“Also, getting our youths to work together on this project can help develop harmony in the region. People who pass by and see their art will admire these young artists’ talents. The project is also a good way for art students to practice their drawing skills,” he added.


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