Emjaroen, Pratuang (1935--) By Chapakdee, Thanom
Pratuang Emjaroen is a member of a wave of self-taught artists in Thailand who gained renown in the 1970s. His works are driven by his concerns about the vicissitudes of life, social problems, nature and Buddhism. A prolific artist, he created a large variety of works throughout his career. Pratuang began his career working as a painter of cinema billboards and movie posters. Inspired by the biographic film Lust for Life (1956), about Vincent Van Gogh, Pratuang developed an interest in becoming a visual artist and began studying painting independently. Being a self-taught artist could have been an obstacle to his career in challenging Thailand’s traditional art institutions. Fortunately, Pratuang was able to overcome this in developing his own inimitable style in painting, drawing and poetry. Having struggled to become a renowned artist, Pratuang established the Dhamma Group in 1971, and was able to convince many artists to join, thereby increasing his own reputation. In 1967, he won the Silver Medal from the National Exhibition of Arts, and in 1968, 1974 and 1995 won Bronze Medals. Pratuang received the National Artist of Thailand Award in Visual Art in 2005.