The Queen’s Gallery is helping the nation mourn with a display of paintings that channel the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s spirit
onths after the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the country continues to display its profound love for the father of the nation in myriad touching ways. Case in point: until January 13, a set of paintings in remembrance of our beloved late King will be on display at the Queen’s Gallery. Khunying Chodchoy Sophonpanich, a promoter of the arts and the director of both the Bangkok Bank Foundation and the Queen’s Gallery, tells us more.
What kind of paintings will be shown at this exhibition?
The exhibition is entitled 70 Years—Our King Father. We had a competition, Dao Den Bualuang, where we invited 35 art faculties from universities nationwide to participate in a live painting competition. It’s a 10 day contest which takes place at the Queen’s Gallery and is shown live on social media. Two third-and fourthyear students from each university were asked to paint anything that would depict the King’s contribution to the country and how they envisioned him. It’s a great programme because it includes lectures on topics we think these young students should know. There have been art collectors who came to talk about how they collect, how to sell and what they look for in a piece of art. It is also a great opportunity for these youths to meet some of the country’s National Artists and learn from their experiences.
What is the inspiration behind the competition?
We wanted to pay tribute to His Majesty but also, I think especially during this particular time, people are trying to express their feelings in whatever way they can and art is one of those outlets that help people share their emotions. More generally speaking, through competitions and exhibitions we are trying to promote not only some of the best art works but promote young talents who are still unknown. When the Queen’s Gallery was established, Her Majesty the Queen, who helped fund the project, said she wanted to see a centre that would not only promote the best artistic talents but also a place to support young unknown artists.
What else can you tell us about the competition?
We began organising Bualuang painting competitions some 20 to 30 years ago. The Dao Den Bualuang competition was initiated about nine years ago. Art helps children dream and explore their creativity. Children all love to draw but after a certain age, they stop. This is because parents and our educational system don’t support that. So we promote art and raise awareness on the importance of art while also supporting Thai artistic talents. One of our National Artists once said that nothing in the world becomes famous without an artistic quality. You can design a rocket to the moon but someone also has to design what it will look like.
Are there other exhibitions on at the Queen’s Gallery now?
We actually have another exhibition running simultaneously at the Queen’s Gallery right now, which also runs until January 13. This one consists of about 180 artists, all of whom are past winners of Bualuang competitions. They have also been asked to show their work depicting the life of the late King. Viewers can buy the paintings from both exhibitions. The proceeds go directly to the artist with a percentage going to the Bualuang Foundation.