Upa-in, Lawan (1935--) By Baker, Catherine
Thai artist Lawan Upa-in was the first female student to be granted a Bachelor of Arts in painting at Silpakorn University—where she studied in the Faculty of Painting, Sculpture, and Graphic Arts—becoming well known in a field that was, at the time, entirely dominated by men. Professor Silpa Bhirasri (born Corrado Feroci), the so-called father of Thai modern art, mentored Upa-in, who became well known for her work in portraiture. She was offered a teaching position at Silpakorn prior to her graduation, and initial commissions from the Thai royal family helped to develop her reputation as an artist. Her style is influenced by the Western art traditions taught by her mentor; however, while her portraits maintain aspects of photo-realism, other works divert from this style to include narrative elements reflecting the political turmoil in Thailand.