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Artists lead push for change in Thailand's northeast

'Edgy' festivals reflect local support for democracy campaigners

“The events are driven by a rejection of mainstream art,” says Thanom Chapakdee, one of the main forces behind the art-activism scene in northeastern Thailand. (Photo by Fabian Drahmoune)

KHON KAEN, Thailand -- Inside an abandoned nightclub, a woman dressed in the white robe of a Buddhist nun stands laughing in front of a mirror. Around the corner, a trail of 112 raw chicken feet leads visitors into the ruins of a brothel that once housed sex workers from nearby Laos.

Both sites served as venues for Khon Kaen Manifesto, a subversive biennial art festival, held for the second time from Dec. 10 to Dec. 20 in the northeastern city of Khon Kaen.

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