Thai artist honours fallen anime heroes

Jinnipha Nivasabut wanted to mourn the deaths of her favourite characters in popular shows and manga series.
Jinnipha Nivasabut wanted to mourn the deaths of her favourite characters in popular shows and manga series.PHOTO: AFP
The fallen heroes are painted with the realism of stately oil portraits.
The fallen heroes are painted with the realism of stately oil portraits.PHOTO: AFP

BANGKOK (AFP) - Portraits of dozens of anime characters, each with a small altar for fans to leave flowers, adorn the wall of a Bangkok gallery - a tribute to fictional heroes who met an untimely death.

The 2D Afterlife exhibit is made up of 50 of these creations by artist Jinnipha Nivasabut, who wanted to mourn the deaths of her favourite characters in popular shows and manga series.

The core concept "is to explore the idea of why the deaths of these fictional characters could have such an impact on real people", said the 22-year-old anime lover.

Eschewing anime's cartoon style, she instead painted the fallen heroes with the realism of stately oil portraits.

"In my memories, I see these characters as real persons. They're like members of my family, so I decided to draw these characters to resemble real persons as much as possible," she said.

Japanese anime and manga enjoy mainstream popularity in Thailand, with frequent conventions held in pre-pandemic Bangkok that would draw massive crowds of cosplayers.

Jinnipha said she wanted her work to serve not just as fan art, but also as a participation experience for both herself and the massive fan base supporting each series.

Below each portrait, a small shelf acting as an altar allows members of the public to place flowers and Fanta soda drinks - typical Thai offerings to the dead.

Sasha Braus, a beloved character from the ultra-popular Attack On Titan series, had a potato left on her shelf - a reference to her love for food on the show that earned her the nickname "Potato Girl".

"They know that she loved potatoes, so one of them came here and put it on the shelf for her," said gallery visitor Kullanit Assawawongkasem, 19, adding that she was devastated when the character was killed.

But "seeing these portraits, especially of Sasha, I'm not exactly sad", she said. "It's the opposite - I'm kind of glad that people still think of her."

The exhibit, hosted at Palette Artspace in Bangkok, ends on Aug 3.