“On arrival at Wat Chai I was given a new name,” said photographer Boulos Isaac. “Thai people often have several nicknames, shortened versions of their formal names, for events connected to their lives or endearing reminders from family and friends of their ideas about themselves. As Boulos is Arabic for ‘Paul’, I was given the name ‘Khun Paul’ for the week.”
“Maneuvering twelve stories of scaffolding wearing a hardhat and camera gear took getting used to—initially I kept banging my head,” said Isaac. “To avoid headaches (and the new nickname ‘Khun Fall’), I quickly learned to keep in a perpetual hunched position. It’s a haul to get to the top while standing stooped, but the views were amazing.”
“On the scaffolding, the project team moves around effortlessly, as if it’s second nature, making themselves right at home with seat cushions, radios, snacks and given the hot weather, lots of iced drinks.”
After identifying a gap in the higher education system regarding attitudes toward the care of monuments, World Monuments Fund launched a new program earlier this year to develop a crop of conservators without the benefit of previous experience. The “Fantastic Four” – the first group from this new program – are pictured here.
In Wat Chaiwatthanaram, as in any other WMF project around the globe, our hope is that the public has the opportunity to better understand and appreciate the history and legacy of a site, while enriching the lives of the local community around it.
WMF's long commitment to Wat Chaiwatthanaram is made possible thanks to support from the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, and the Fine Arts Department of Thailand.