The Great Art In­va­sion

Thailand Tatler - - TO OUR READERS - —Napha­lai Areesorn Edi­tor-in-Chief

Thai­land has gone through many phases, from be­ing touted as the land of tem­ples and beaches to the hub of health and well­ness, to kitchen of the world and per­haps even cen­tre for tech­nol­ogy if the govern­ment ever gets se­ri­ous about push­ing Thai­land 4.0. But there is an­other as­pect that is be­gin­ning to take shape, and be­cause it is hap­pen­ing or­gan­i­cally, it hasn’t been at­tract­ing too much at­ten­tion. But make no mis­take about it, it is def­i­nitely hap­pen­ing.

What am I talk­ing about? Art and de­sign, that’s what. It wasn’t that long ago that young, gifted cre­ative peo­ple had to set­tle for com­mer­cial pur­suits to earn a liv­ing as it was al­most im­pos­si­ble to sur­vive on their art. Although no less tal­ented, Thai artists never seemed to be able to break into the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket while those from neigh­bour­ing coun­tries such as Viet­nam and In­done­sia did much bet­ter. This was due in no small mea­sure to the lack of op­por­tu­ni­ties.

This is now chang­ing. In ad­di­tion to lo­cal art gal­leries, in­ter­na­tional cu­ra­tors are pro­mot­ing Thai artists over­seas as well as for­eign artists within Thai­land. Re­sources and sup­port for the arts are grow­ing. Art is be­com­ing cool and hip, with ar­eas ded­i­cated to creativ­ity emerg­ing, such as Charoen Krung where the Thai­land Cre­ative and De­sign Cen­tre has re­lo­cated, plus ar­chi­tect Duangrit Bun­nag’s Ware­house 30 event space, among oth­ers. Barely a month goes by with­out a big art event, such as the Ho­tel Art Fair, an an­nual fix­ture which falls this month, or the ex­tremely pop­u­lar gallery hop­ping nights, which were started by the French Em­bassy but have now taken on a life of their own. Mean­while, plans to stage the first ever Bangkok Bi­en­nale (due date: Novem­ber 2018) were an­nounced just a few weeks ago in Venice.

Thai de­sign­ers are also be­ing no­ticed. Some in­ter­na­tional ar­chi­tec­tural firms have set up in Thai­land be­cause of the tal­ent avail­able here. In this is­sue we look at in­te­rior de­sign­ers who have cre­ated some of the most suc­cess­ful restau­rants in Asia and find that they in­clude not just in­ter­na­tional firms, but lo­cal ones as well.

What will hap­pen in Thai­land’s cre­ative scene next? Who knows, but given the cur­rent di­rec­tion of travel it is sure to be cause for ex­cite­ment.

Ty­ing the Knot Pell­e­vah's new col­lec­tion, Trop­i­cal Won­der, pairs bold colours with ex­otic leather goods. The Thai brand com­bines ex­quis­ite crafts­man­ship with time­less de­signs.

Buy a whisker That's no do­mes­tic pussy but a rare cara­cal cat. More and more Thais are be­ing drawn to ex­otic an­i­mals as pets. See p 106

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