The Thai cave rescue was a dramatic saga that gripped the whole world. When the twelve young boys plus the coach of the Wild Boars soccer team were finally rescued on July 10, after being trapped inside a cave complex for eighteen days, we celebrated and cried in jubilation.
The days leading to the rescue were filled with inspiring moments that restored our faith in humanity. It touched a lot of lives that even artists from all over the world were moved to pay tribute through beautiful artworks.
From the teamwork and sacrifices of the rescuers and volunteers to the resilience of the twelve young boys and their coach, here are some of the most heartwarming pieces that were shared on the world wide web:
Thai artists Aruni Aunhawarakorn and Jantima Manasviyoungkul collaborated on this widely shared image wherein the heroes behind the rescue are depicted as various animals leading the Wild Boars team outside the cave.
Aruni and Jantima, who used the pen name Sisidea, posted the original image on their Facebook page after the first group of boys was taken out of the cave.
“Our pen couldn’t start to work until the first wild boar was successfully rescued from the cave,” they told The Guardian. “We were so worried and prayed for them. This picture is to cheer them up and show the appreciation of Thai people for the collaborations from many people around the world.”
The latest version of the artwork on their page includes all countries and volunteers who lent a helping hand, along with their proper labels.
One of the best illustration to visualize the colossal effort of #ThaiCaveResue, from the divers in the frontier to the volunteer cooks and farmers giving up their harvest this year. This is what humanity could achieve at our best. Glad that everyone’s safe now! pic.twitter.com/w96yQZh4s9
This illustration from an unknown artist showed teh magnitude of the rescue operation. Pumps were brought in to lessen the flood water inside the cave, and the Thai government even considered drilling the mountain to get to the boys. All the while, the Thai Navy SEALs worked hard at finding the boys and were overjoyed when the British divers finally discovered them.
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Artist idol_addict drew the ‘real heroes’ — a diver and the rescuers pumping the water out of the cave. Behind the men are shadows of superheroes like Iron Man, Superman, Spider-Man, Captain America, and Black Panther
Thai artist CPToey illustrated a heartbreaking cartoon of Sergeant Major Saman Kunan, a former SEAL who volunteered to help in the rescue. While returning from a delivery of oxygen tanks to the boys, he ran out of air, lost consciousness and sadly passed away. The enormity of his sacrifice was not lost; he was drawn smiling while patting a crying wild boar’s head. The caption above in English was “It’s okay, be good when you grow up.”
The same sentiment was shared by an unknown artist who drew Kunan patting a big boar (perhaps the Wild Boar coach) while twelve smaller boars surrounded them. Twitter user @onlyfahhs translated the caption when she shared it on her account. It says, “Congrats that you’ve made it. From now on, you guys have to take very good care of each other. I gotta go.”
Cartoonist and photographer Pazut Wutigornsombatkul took the edge off of the dangerous operation with a cute rendering of two divers leading a young boy out of the water. In reality, the young boys were sedated and were attached to the divers who swam out of the cave.
“When I first got the news, I really felt that many people were starting to panic and stress. My first idea is I wanted to make people relaxed and feel happy, so I started to draw,” Wutigornsombatkul told The Guardian. He added that cartoons have the power to bring hope and calm people, which is why he uploaded his drawings of the rescue on his page, Tuagom Studio.
6. The meditating coach.
Wild Boars coach Ekapol Chanthawong was criticized for taking the boys inside the cave, but the parents of the young players viewed it differently. They were grateful that the coach was with their sons to protect them. This cartoon from Thai artist Lady M showed Chanthawong cradling the twelve boars while meditating.
The Thai cave rescue coincided with the FIFA World Cup and cartoonist and illustrator Chris ‘Roy’ Taylor drew inspiration from this parallel. He illustrated the moment the football team was first found by British divers, with the divers holding a trophy and offering it to the smiling boys. “The world has just found its most inspiring and courageous football team,” he says in the caption.