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Chinda Smith

Originally born in Laos, Chinda Smith moved to England at the age of two. This shift in diaspora is a central theme in her work, as she comments on the erasure of identity and a sense of absence, existing in a state of limbo, and not being able to find belonging in any physical space. However, through her art, Smith has found refuge in her memories of childhood, a blend of two culturesSmith uses her practice as a form of escapism from the overwhelming, finding moments of quiet to depict and ground herself in. She gravitates towards painting, whereby images in the mind can easily be translated onto a surface. A sublime colour palette and reference towards light gives the imagination dimension

Additionally, one might observe that the focal point in any of Smith’s compositions largely revolve
around society. Namely the complex ways in which people interact. Her recent works, painted directly
from imagination largely combines the individuals and their surroundings. This came from a desire
for her memories to sit somewhere. To belong.
This series of paintings come under the title:“The Forgotten”. On a surface level, what is forgotten
refers to those in our communities that have been disregarded. Smith paints in rage as she witnesses the dehumanisation of people- deemed “out-casts” in society’s eyes. She also paints from her own trauma, as a form of release. Where it is clear that structurally there was never an opportunity for some people to exist and live well in this corrupt system. Smith likes to create a better place in the microcosm of her paintings. It is important to acknowledge Smith’s adapting nature in light of moving from one part of the world to another. Childhood memories of growing up in the UK have taken priority over those moments spent in Laos, so much so, Smith feels she has forgotten who she was. Chinda does not remember the language, or the names of people that should be known like the back of one’s hand. However, very rarely she will get little glimpses into the past. This title, after all, was triggered by a vivid dream centered in Laos. Where Smith mentions two worlds merging into one. Nothing belonged to one place, but had the freedom to wander. After this experience, Chinda realised that we simply must recondition our narrow ways of thinking.
After starting this endeavour, her insights into the past have increased. Little details like the smell of
the dust in the air, the taste of home grown fruit, and the sound of a person’s voice, returning to the
forefront of the mind. The purpose of this title was to reconnect with the forgotten. Who, perhaps,
Smith would have been had she not come to England. What kind of person would she have grown up
to be. To imagine this alternate reality, one must look to the past for guidance. Reignite forgotten
thoughts. To progress this idea further, Smith has practiced drawing and creating works directly from
memory daily.
At the beginning, there was a sense of frustration, as Smith aimed to capture her memories in light of
realism. Although, when she quickly discovered that an exact replica of the past could not be achieved, she began to paint more liberally. This sense of freedom transcended into large-scale works spanning 500x200cm. Anything that is forgotten is not dead but merely stranded. Chinda Smith is an emerging artist, who has only recently completed her foundation year at the Royal Drawing School in London.

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