The Asian tsunami on December 26th 2004 claimed over 220,000 lives. In Thailand, over 5,000 people were killed. Nobody who experienced it in person or who watched the news coverage will forget the events of that day.
It is perhaps fitting that the memorial is an understated affair, but I wonder just how many visitors to the area, Thai and foreign, know of the existence of the memorial sculpture at Nopparat Thara Beach, Krabi.
The sculpture entitled ‘Hold Me Close’ is the work of elderly French artist Louise Bourgeois. In 2005, Bourgeois described the meaning behind her work:
‘This tragedy reminds us how fragile our lives are and how little we can do except to hold onto each other. These hands say I will not let you go, but do not abandon me. Keep your grip. Hold me close forever and ever.’
The original location for the memorial was planned for Phi Phi Island, but in the end it was decided to site it close to the National Park headquarters at Nopparat Thara Beach in Krabi. Described as a memorial park, it is easy to drive or walk past without realizing it is there. The entrance is nestled amongst trees where a raised wooden walkway leads towards the two sculptures. The first sculpture is in a small ripple pond and is in the form of a solitary hand reaching up and out of the water. Just beyond that, a wooden dome structure houses the second sculpture. This is in the form of two pairs of hands joined together and reaching up towards the light beaming in from the top of the open dome. As visitors exit, they face the same Andaman Sea that caused so much devastation.
photos © thaizer.com