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Busui Ajaw

b. 1986, Mae Suai, Thailand
Lives and works in Chiang Rai, Thailand

Ayaw Jaw Bah, 2019

Acrylic on canvas, wood and mixed media installation
Dimensions variable
Collection of the Artist
Singapore Biennale 2019 commission

Busui Ajaw’s practice relates to her unique upbringing. The artist is an Akha, a nomadic ethnic group from the highlands of mainland Southeast Asia, and is from a family of artisans. Coming from an oral culture, the practice of image-making was initially foreign to her. For SB2019, Busui Ajaw presents Ayaw Jaw Bah, a series of paintings and an installation. The paintings depict a tragic story of an intelligent Akha prince, stories of his son, as well as those of Amamata, the first mother. In the middle of the room stands a traditional spirit gate that the artist made to signify the boundary of the Akha village, to welcome the audience to the mythical world.


Busui Ajaw (b. 1986, Mae Suai, Thailand) is a self-taught painter who creates works that draw from her everyday experiences as a woman in the contemporary world as well as her roots as an Akha ethnic minority. Since she began drawing at age 15, she has developed an expressive painterly language to communicate both the seen and unseen as well as the material and the psychological. She recently began to incorporate wooden sculpture into her visual language as well as working with installations. Busui exhibits widely in Chiang Rai and Bangkok. She lives and works in Chiang Rai, Thailand.