Payut Ngaokrachang: Master Animator and Cultural Treasure of Thailand

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Image Courtesy: Google Doodle

Payut Ngaokrachang (1 April 1929 – 27 May 2010) was a Thai cartoonist and animator. He created Thai cinema’s first cel-animated feature film, The Adventure of Sudsakorn. Released in 1979, “Sudsakorn” was one of Thailand’s earliest full-length animations and was based on author Sudthornpu’s book Pra Apai Manee. It follows the exploits of the boy hero as he battles with mythical creatures and other dangerous adversaries. The animation was created on a very tight budget, and the innovative Payut was said to have crafted some of his movie-making equipment using discarded military machinery to keep costs low.

Life and Career

Payut was born on 1 April 1929  at Klong Warl village, Warkoe, Prachuap Khiri Khan Province. He grew up in a traditional Thai family that emphasized art and culture. Payut was introduced to the art of shadow puppetry at a young age by his grandfather, who was a puppet master.

Payut began his career in animation in the 1950s, and his work was heavily influenced by traditional Thai art and culture. He used a range of techniques, including stop-motion animation, to create his films. His works often explored social issues and had a strong cultural message.

Payut’s most famous works include “The Adventure of Sudsakorn,” a feature-length animation based on a Thai legend, and “The White Elephant,” a short film that won several awards at international film festivals. His films were screened at numerous international film festivals, and he was regarded as one of the pioneers of animation in Southeast Asia. Payut Ngaokrachang passed away on 27 May 2010, at the age of 81, leaving behind a legacy as a pioneering animator and artist who helped promote Thai culture and traditions through his work.

Award and Legacy

Payut Ngaokrachang’s work as an animator, artist, and filmmaker has been widely recognized both in Thailand and internationally. Some of the awards and honors he received include:

  • 1991: National Artist of Thailand for Visual Arts (Film Animation)

Payut’s legacy continues to be celebrated in Thailand and beyond. His films have been included in international film festivals, and his influence on Thai animation and art is widely recognized. In Thailand, the Payut Ngaokrachang Award was established in his honor to recognize outstanding work in the field of animation. His work has inspired a new generation of Thai animators and artists, and his legacy continues to be an important part of Thailand’s cultural heritage. On 1 April 2017, Google celebrated Payut Ngaokrachang’s 88th birthday with a doodle.