Ponnapa is a Thai contemporary visual artist and landscape architect based in Massachusetts. Growing up in an extended family of artists and musicians in Thailand has a strong influence on her artistic creativity. In watching her mother diligently make drawing paper from mulberry paper pulp, silk cocoon, and tree bark, Ponnapa learned that the making of the essence of art emerges before the white paper and continues to evolve beyond artist’s hands. This idea inspired her to use the Earth as a canvas and pursued a study in landscape architecture. Ponnapa holds a master’s degree in landscape architecture with honors from the Rhode Island School of Design where she started using soil as her main drawing media.
As a landscape architect making drawings, site investigation and immersion plays an important role in Ponnapa’s work. She uses the painting process as a tool to experience, understand, and connect with her surrounding environment. Through her work, she aims to gain a better understanding of cultural displacement and isolation issues as an immigrant. Ponnapa is also a recipient of David Bethuel Jamieson Artist of Color Residency & Fellowship at C-Scape Dune Shack in Provincetown, Residence Lab’s Artist-in-Residence Program by ACDC and the Pao Arts Center in Boston, and Manoog Family Artist Residency program at the Plumbing Museum with four paintings in the museum’s permanent collection. Her work has also been exhibited, published, and collected throughout the US and in Asia. Ponnapa currently works at Sasaki and is a core member at Fountain Street.