By Megan Bagdonas STAFF WRITER Heralded for breaking away from traditional art and embracing new styles and techniques arising from its exposure to other cultures, Thailand’s burgeoning art scene is the focus of an international exhibit in San Pedro. “Thailand is the world’s largest exporter of rice, yet they have a high-tech manufacturing sector, too,” said visual director Marshall Astor at Angels Gate Cultural Center. “In their art, you see the traditional Buddhist mythology and agrarian culture, but it’s being used to create new forms.” Pechmang runs a wedding photography studio in the southern region of Thailand, but his passion is to capture the skies right before or just after it rains. “Where ever I go, it always rains,” he said. “Some people don’t like to come visit because they say I bring the rain.” Pechmang is an orphan. Before he was 8, his mother was fatally bitten by a cobra while working in a garden and soon after his father fell ill and died. His works feature dynamic skies with lone figures silhouetted in the foreground. They are beautiful and serene, but also melancholy. The exhibit also includes works by Jian Sae Jern, who photographs himself standing in ruined buildings wearing a giant papier-mach panda head and a suit similar to the kind worn by communist leader Mao Zedong. Abstract drawings of tides by Narupon Chutiwansopon and a series of paintings of figures shrouded by cloth or shadow by Narakorn Sittites are also featured in the exhibit. Astor, the visual arts director for the cultural center, said that while the new Thai artists are breaking ground with Asian art, they have yet to break into the American mainstream. “This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for us,” said Astor, who has also overseen exhibits from the Czech Republic, Macedonia, Pakistan and South Africa. “If you miss it, they’re gone. They might not show in the states for a long time. The exposure of Thai art in the states is very limited.” firstname.lastname@example.orgWant local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Artists Jessada Kongsommart, 32, and Pongsak Pechmang, 29, are ambassadors for the new school of Thai art featured in “Five Feelings,” an exhibition at Angels Gate Cultural Center showcasing works from artists of the southeast Asian country. Kongsommart’s paintings portray objects familiar to him while growing up in a small village: baskets, woven silk material, rice and farming tools. Yet he manipulates them in a contemporary style to create a more modern and conceptual work. “Most Thai artists are trying to step forward and mix East and West styles together,” Kongsommart said. “Young artists \ have to survive and make a living so they cannot concentrate on the old-fashioned styles because the market doesn’t want that.” As an example, the painter told about an old artist he knows back in his home country. For his entire career the elderly man painted hunters using bow and arrows. Only recently did he begin portraying hunters using rifles. “The West has many different artistic styles and now Thai artists are opening up their styles, too,” Kongsommart said.