In Chiang Rai, new art exhibit shows life is all about light

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In Chiang Rai, new art exhibit shows life is all about light

In Chiang Rai, new art exhibit shows life is all about light

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 09, 2022

A new exhibit at the Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park in Chiang Rai focuses on the restorative power of light, while aiming to raise the northern city’s profile.

The exhibit of installation art – “Light of Life” – showcases 20 pieces from six artists. It is organised by the Mae Fah Luang Foundation and the Tourism Authority of Thailand, which is trying to promote tourism beyond major cities and develop Chiang Rai as a destination for art tourists.

The exhibit also marks the debut of light-focused installation art at the art and cultural park operated by the Mae Fah Luang Foundation.

In Chiang Rai, new art exhibit shows life is all about light

Artist Pol Huiprasert said that the lights in the exhibit cast off a range of temperatures, adding: “From the temperature of light bulbs to the sunlight’s temperature, the warmth of light creates human life and helps us move forward.”

In Chiang Rai, new art exhibit shows life is all about light

Mom Luang Panadda Diskul, CEO of the Mae Fah Luang Foundation, said Chiang Rai has extensive natural and cultural heritage. The exhibit aims to help people see the city and its surroundings in a new light, the CEO added.

In Chiang Rai, new art exhibit shows life is all about light

The exhibition is open to the public from 4pm to 10pm, Tuesdays till Sundays until January 29. For more information visit the Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/maefahluangartandculturalpark) or call 053-716 -6057.

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Exploring Thailand’s grey area

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Exploring Thailand’s grey area

Exploring Thailand’s grey area

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 09, 2022

Pawit Mahasarinand

B-Floor Theatre’s new work questions who, or what, actually determines what’s good or bad in this country

As the audience walked into Bangkok Art and Culture Centre’s (BACC) 4th floor Studio for Dujdao “Dao” Vadhanapakorn’s new work “Paranoid – Schizoid”—the first work in B-Floor Theatre’s “Cloud State” as part of BACC’s 11th annual edition of Performative Art Project (PAP), we saw Dao and her B-Floor colleague and Teerawat “Ka-ge” Mulvilai walk around a circular stage filled with flour which, for Thai audiences or those who follow Thai politics, has political connotation. 


Photo: Tanyathorn Khunapinya and Chatchada Piphatnangkool

Their voices were soft and she spoke through a wireless microphone and only he could hear her through his headphones. 

Settling into our seats on one of the three audience stands set up around the performance area, my partner noted, “Ja (Jarunun Phantachat, B-Floor’s co-artistic director) looks comfortable lying there.” “Where is she?” I asked. 

Exploring Thailand’s grey area

After my partner pointed to one area of the stage where Ja was almost totally covered by flour except for her head as if to remind me that it’s time to see my optometrist, I said, “Oh, I thought that’s a stage prop,” and asked “Where’s Golf (Ornanong Thaisriwong, another performer)?” as I was looking for her. 

Dao then moved to stand behind a microphone stand where she asked, or ordered, Ka-ge, on the opposite side, to write down on the floor what he considered good and bad—for example, working hard for the former, and traffic jam for the latter. 

Exploring Thailand’s grey area

Thanks to the live videocast projected onto two partition panels, we saw what he wrote. It’s noteworthy that these, like many parts of this performance, changed from one evening to another. 

Exploring Thailand’s grey area

Later, Golf was carried in by Ka-ge and her all white costume and elegant postures made her look like an angel, if not a goddess. Her headdress was filled with so many black ping-pong balls that Ka-ge often sought the audience’s help to put back those that spilled over. My partner was given one but she might think of taking it home as a souvenir for our son.

Exploring Thailand’s grey area

Realizing our beagle wouldn’t enjoy it and wanting to get “experiential” with this work, I took it from her, walked to the stage and put it back into Golf’s headdress. On the way back to my seat, Ka-ge stopped me at every step and as I stood still he drew lines around my feet. After I was back in my seat, he wrote “OK”.

Exploring Thailand’s grey area

Subsequently, with Dao leading this game, or exercise, through microphones either publicly or privately through Ka-ge, the trio continued exploring, and questioning, the notions of the good and the bad in different ways, with spoken words and physical movements.  

Exploring Thailand’s grey area

Both titles “Paranoid – Schizoid” and “Cloud State” are fitting and this work walks the talk indeed. Although it might not hit us hard as Ka-ge’s works, it made us think on after the curtain call. It’s been almost three years that we’ve all been affected by the global, plus many more years that we’ve been in the political turmoil and many political cases remain in the jurisdiction process. 

Exploring Thailand’s grey area

Given the recent constitutional court’s decision on how to count the eight-year premiership, we don’t really know what else to expect. Just like when Ka-ge said “PM 2.5”, we cannot see, hear and think clearly as we cannot breathe heathy air. Just like that the audience couldn’t hear all Dao’s commands, we’re wondering what, or who, really determines what’s good or bad in this democratic country.    

Notwithstanding the socially and politically relevant content and the treat of seeing four veteran B-Floor members sharing the stage, theatregoers who have followed Dujdao’s stage works for many years may feel that “Paranoid – Schizoid” is like old wine in a new bottle, with Dujdao’s all-too-familiar role of an onstage director/on-site psychiatrist. I suddenly thought of works by theatre masters like Peter Brook and Tadashi Suzuki. A major difference is that they started getting into their autopilot cruising mode when they’re in their 60s; Dujdao’s still in her 40s. 

“Paranoid – Schizoid” runs daily until Sunday (December 11), 7pm. Next weekend (December 15 to 18), B-Floor’s “Cloud State” and BACC’s PAP#11 close with “It’s Just a Fiction (Not Mentioning Anything)”, a politically changed physical theatre work by newly graduated students from Thammasat University’s Faculty of Fine Arts. They noted, “Since our freshman year, we always wanted our senior project to be a devised physical theatre performance.” 

Having taking classes with Crescent Moon Theatre’s Sineenadh Keitprapai, another Silpathorn Award laureate, as well as Ka-ge, their graduation project earlier this year was so well received that B-Floor invited them to join this Cloud State. 

This is also the first student’s work to be part of PAP. Tickets for the former are Bt 750 and the latter Bt 600—buy both and save some bucks—available now at https://www.facebook.com/BFloor.Theatre.Group

This weekend and next (December 9-11 and 16-18), another Silpathorn Award laureate Pichet Klunchun invites us to “Take a Walk” with him at Thonburi Park. 

This solo performance is described as “time management of the present in order to develop status and stability for the future”, promises to “relax your mind, put you in good shape, build muscles as well as strengthen bones, intestines, lungs and heart and is “recommended for all ages and genders.”

Friday at 3:30pm, Saturday and Sunday at 8am. Please wear sneakers. For more details and reservation, https://www.facebook.com/PFLifeWork.

Pawit Mahasarinand

Precocious 11-year-old Trang girl makes waves online with her paintings

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Precocious 11-year-old Trang girl makes waves online with her paintings

Precocious 11-year-old Trang girl makes waves online with her paintings

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 07, 2022

An 11-year-old student in Kantang district of Trang province has earned more than 200,000 baht over the past two years by selling her watercolour paintings via her Facebook page.

Pornpawee “Organ” Uttasuradee, a Prathom-6 student at Wat Trangkhaphum Phuttawat Municipal School, has been studying watercolour painting from the time she was five years old.

When Pornpawee was nine, her mother decided to open a Facebook page “N’August N’Organ” and put her watercolour paintings on sale, at 10,000 baht apiece, as she was impressed with her daughter’s talent.

Pornpawee’s paintings caught the attention of many foreigners. She was able to sell two to three paintings per month, generating 20,000 to 30,000 baht in income.

Most watercolour paintings being sold on her Facebook page depict natural scenery, such as rice fields, mountains and the sea.

Precocious 11-year-old Trang girl makes waves online with her paintings

Following her success in selling her works, Pornpawee has been invited to teach watercolour painting to other students at her school.

Pornpawee said she started learning watercolour painting when she was five. She added that she has a lot of paintings right now.

“I decided to continue studying watercolour painting as my teacher praised my talent,” she said.

Precocious 11-year-old Trang girl makes waves online with her paintings

Meanwhile, Pannarai Wongaree, a Prathom-3 student at Wat Trangkhaphum Phuttawat Municipal School, said he was proud that Pornpawee was his teacher.

He said he got a lot of knowledge after learning how to draw a cat on a tree branch from her, adding that he will show his painting to his grandparents.

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Oxford names ‘Goblin Mode’ as word of the year

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Oxford names 'Goblin Mode' as word of the year

Oxford names ‘Goblin Mode’ as word of the year

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 07, 2022

A slang term to describe lazy behaviour – “goblin mode” – was named by Oxford English Dictionary as this year’s word of the year, according to Oxford University Press, which publishes the dictionary.

This was the first year a public vote was used to select the word of the year. The phrase took 93% of the votes cast, or 318,956.

“Goblin mode” is defined as “a type of behavior which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations”.

Oxford University Press said the term started appearing online in 2009, but went viral earlier this year over a fictitious headline scandal involving actress and model Julia Fox as well as a popular Reddit post describing someone who has been acting like a goblin.

As Covid restrictions eased, the term continued to grow as people realised they did not want to go back to the way life was before.

“Given the year we’ve just experienced, ‘goblin mode’ resonates with all of us who are feeling a little overwhelmed at this point,” Casper Grathwohl, president of Oxford Languages, told the BBC. “It’s a relief to acknowledge that we’re not always the idealized, curated selves that we’re encouraged to present on our Instagram and TikTok feeds.”

Oxford names 'Goblin Mode' as word of the year

Oxford’s runner up was “metaverse”, the term assigned to the virtual world introduced by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, with 14,484 votes, followed by #IStandWith, a hashtag that shows support to victims of war in Ukraine, with 8,639 votes.

Meanwhile, Collins English Dictionary named “permacrisis” as its word of the year. The word refers to an extended period of instability and insecurity, which may sum 2022.

Merriam-Webster dictionary announced “gaslighting” as its word of the year, based on searches for the word on merriam-webster.com that increased 1,740% in 2022.

Merriam-Webster’s definition for “gaslighting” is the psychological manipulation of a person, usually over an extended period of time, that “causes the victim to question the validity of their own thoughts, perception of reality, or memories and typically leads to confusion, loss of confidence and self-esteem, uncertainty of one’s emotional or mental stability, and a dependency on the perpetrator”.

Sources: BBCCNNAljazeera

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Immersive show of Korean cultural heritage opens at National Museum Bangkok

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Immersive show of Korean cultural heritage opens at National Museum Bangkok

Immersive show of Korean cultural heritage opens at National Museum Bangkok

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 04, 2022

A Korea gallery utilizing immersive video content has opened at the National Museum Bangkok.

The exhibition, titled “A New Encounter: Immersive Gallery of Korean Art,” presents Korean cultural heritage reinterpreted by the latest digital media technology. The exhibition is organized jointly by the National Museum of Korea and the National Museum Bangkok.

Also on display are two sculptures of Buddha from the two countries that, while hailing from different eras, share rich and long histories of Buddhist stories.

In organizing the first official public presentation of Korean cultural heritage in Thailand, the organizers aimed to blend cultural heritage and digital technology in introducing Korean art and history in an approachable way to the museumgoers.

Two large-scaled immersive digital content, “Journey of the Soul” and “Royal Procession with the People,” produced by the NMK are on display.

The two newly created content are based on Joseon-era Buddhist paintings and “Uigwe,” a collection of royal protocols of the Joseon era.

“Journey of the Soul,” explores the Buddhist worldview and depicts Koreans’ beliefs in the afterlife at the time.

The work puts together several major Joseon-era Buddhist paintings, such as “The Ten Kings of Hell,” “Underworld Messengers” and “The Assembly of Amitabha Buddha.”

Meanwhile, “Royal Procession with the People” illustrates the rites of the Joseon royal court that embodied core Confucian values.

Visitors will be able to view King Jeongjo’s majestic processions to Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon Gyeonggi Province. The illustrations in “Uigwe,” listed on Unesco’s Memory of the World Register in 2007, served as the main source for creating the immersive content.

Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva from the Unified Silla period of Korea currently on exhibition at the National Museum Bangkok (NMK)Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva from the Unified Silla period of Korea currently on exhibition at the National Museum Bangkok (NMK)

Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva from the Srivijaya period of Thailand currently on display at the National Museum Bangkok (NMK)Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva from the Srivijaya period of Thailand currently on display at the National Museum Bangkok (NMK)

Buddha statues from Korea and Thailand — an Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva statue from the Unified Silla period and an Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva statue from the Srivijaya period of Thailand — are also on exhibition, facing each other.

“At the exhibition’s opening ceremony, Korean delegates were surprised to learn that Thailand also shares a similar history of recordings of the king’s rituals,” said an NMK researcher who attended the gallery opening ceremony in Bangkok.

National Museum of Korea hopes the exhibition will play a pivotal role in opening a permanent Korean section within the Gallery of Asian Art at the National Museum Bangkok in the future.

The exhibition is scheduled to run through May 21, 2023.

The Korea Herald

Asia News Network

‘The Art of Dreams’ exhibits larger-than-life childhood dreams

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‘The Art of Dreams’ exhibits larger-than-life childhood dreams

‘The Art of Dreams’ exhibits larger-than-life childhood dreams

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 02, 2022

With the immersive installation ‘Dream Big.’ by Scottish artist Chris Labrooy, Porsche is bringing its global initiative ‘The Art of Dreams’ to North America for the first time.

The initiative illuminates the topic of dreams with temporary works of art in major cultural centres. Labrooy’s sculpture addresses the child in every one of us and challenges beholders to dream big. It forms a physical anchor point to a project by Porsche in the virtual world that will be presented in the near future. ‘Dream Big.’ can be viewed at the beach of the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM).

The installation is open daily from 11 am to 6 pm from 29th November to 3rd December.

Homage to childhood dreams 
The centrepiece of ‘Dream Big.’ is a white Porsche 911 Carrera. In the hand of a larger-than-life figure with a racing driver’s helmet, the Coupé looks like a toy car. The artwork is an homage to the dreams of childhood. With a playful tone, the instal-lation is intended to inspire the beholder to wonder where their dreams will take them next. 

Digital artist and Porsche fan Chris Labrooy first created ‘Dream Big.’ via CGL and then transferred it into reality. The artwork is also a reference to a Porsche project in the virtual world that will be unveiled in the near future.

“Porsche embodies the fulfilment of dreams. With our ‘The Art of Dreams’ initiative, we want to inspire people to do just that – to dream,” says Robert Ader, Chief Mar-keting Officer (CMO) at Porsche. “But we also want to support artists and make ex-traordinary works accessible to the public. In the US, the best way to reach the art and design community is during Miami Art Week, when the creative heart of the world is beating in Florida. We’re excited to be making our first appearance there.”

‘The Art of Dreams’ exhibits larger-than-life childhood dreams
‘The Art of Dreams’ exhibits larger-than-life childhood dreams
‘The Art of Dreams’ exhibits larger-than-life childhood dreams
‘The Art of Dreams’ exhibits larger-than-life childhood dreams

About ‘The Art of Dreams’
In October 2021, Porsche launched ‘The Art of Dreams’ – a series of interactive art installations in major cities. A work by the French artist Cyril Lancelin kicked things off in Paris. His installation ‘Remember your dreams’ with giant air-filled elements was later also exhibited in Singapore. This was followed in June 2022 by the installation ‘Everywhereness’ by Ruby Barber (Studio Mary Lennox, Berlin) at Milan Design Week. This botanical artwork with a labyrinth of wild roses and a 1972 Porsche 911 S 2.4 probed the relationship between nature, human-made spaces and technology. 

‘The Art of Dreams’ exhibits larger-than-life childhood dreams

About Chris Labrooy
Chris Labrooy studied product design at the renowned Royal College of Art in Lon-don. After completing his master’s, the Scotsman was drawn to the digital sphere. He combined his knowledge of real objects with an increasing fascination for the surreal. Many of his 3D works depict classic Porsche 911 models placed in dreamy desert landscapes or in the form of a flamingo at the home swimming pool. As part of the ‘20 Years of Porsche in China’ jubilee, Labrooy transferred one of his digital artworks into the real world for the first time in 2021. The result was the art car ‘996 Swan’. The artist is a long-time Porsche fan and owner.

From collaborations to creations

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From collaborations to creations

From collaborations to creations

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 02, 2022

Pawit Mahasarinand

Post-pandemic, B-Floor Theatre remains prolific in collaborations and creations—their members can deliver dialogues too

Before the pandemic, B-Floor Theatre had been known —both locally and internationally— as Thailand’s premier physical theatre company. Winners of IATC Thailand Dance and Theatre  awards, their movement-based productions have voiced, silently yet powerfully, social and political commentaries. The same can be said for their international collaborations like that with Japan’s Hanchu-Yuei in “Girl X” and South Korea’s Theatre Momggol in a trilogy of “Something Missing.”

From collaborations to creations

However, two recent international collaborations, developed during the pandemic and mainly supported by foreign funds, have proved that members of B-Floor are also deft in handling dialogues in both Thai and English—namely, “A Thai Mirror” and “I Don’t Care.”

From collaborations to creations

As part of Bangkok Theatre Festival 2022, “A Thai Mirror” (in Thai title, “Krachok Thai”) was B-Floor’s collaboration with France’s Compagnie franchement, tu, with support from Institut Francaise, Region Hauts-de-France and French Embassy in Thailand. Two performances, by-invitation-only, at Thammasat Playhouse on Rangsit campus were followed by three public performances at Alliance Francaise Bangkok auditorium last weekend. 

From collaborations to creations

French playwright and director Nicolas Kerszenbaum’s compelling “political thriller” first tells how a French woman visits her brother and his Thai fiancée in Kanchanaburi and finds them missing and then flashes back one year prior to the Northeastern historic French town Besancon where the romantic and political relationships took shape.

The two French actors Marion Bottolier and Ulysse Bosshard and the two Thai ones Sarut Komalittipong and Wasu Wanrayangkoon worked well altogether as they spoke naturally in colloquial French, Thai and English. On an almost bare stage, they made it the scenes in France and Thailand credible and told the story clearly.

From collaborations to creations

The music and sound design collaboration of Sarah Metais-Chastanier and Warong Boonaree was another highlight as their work not only created the corresponding atmosphere and stirred the audience’s imagination but also told many stories. Watching them perform different instruments, both traditional and electronic, on stage right was a delight as both became another two actors in this work.

From collaborations to creations

A few slight letdowns are that disappearance of political activists is one of the most frequently used storylines by Thai theatre artists since the last coup d’etat. Some audiences might also feel, after watching this work, that this is yet another reaffirmation of the French government’s assistance for Thai political activists who fight for “democracy”.

From collaborations to creations

Two months earlier, B-Floor’s collaboration with Munich’s Residenztheater “I Don’t Care” (in Thai title, “Mai wa yang rai”), billed as a docufiction by writer and critic Jurgen Berger and funded by Goethe Institut Thailand, had its world premiere at Jim Thompson Art Center.

From collaborations to creations

Based on Berger’s interviews with transgender people in Thailand and Germany between 2017 and 2022, the work was filled with vast amount of information but never felt like an information overload thanks to the co-directors B-Floor’s co-artistic director Jarunun “Ja” Phantachat and Anna-Elisabeth Frick. As the German director’s works range from spoken drama to dance and music, it’s a good match with Ja to begin with.

Setting the performance area in traverse configuration with two sides of the audience facing each other, they asked us to look not only the performers and their stage actions but also how they’re related to other audience members or representatives of the society. The work then relied on presentational modes, frequently like that of a game show, to engage the audience effectively and then discuss issues about transgender people openly and directly.

From collaborations to creations

Interestingly, the tone was considerably light-hearted throughout the performance although the issues discussed were not, like the legal process involved in one’s change from one gender to another in Germany and the fact that Thailand is still far behind the rest of the world when it comes to inclusivity. Credit was due in part to a tightly knitted ensemble comprising German performer and member of Residenztheater ensemble Mareike Beykirch and her Thai counterparts Sarut and Pathavee Thepkraiwan who’s having a ball in this work. Shifting back and forth effortlessly among Thai, German and English languages as the audience occasionally read the translation surtitles, the trio was like storytellers, performers, entertainers, moderators and discussants all at once.

In October, “I Don’t Care” had a two-week run in the Bavarian capital and I’m sure it will continue elsewhere soon. In the program it’s noted that “both Bangkok and Munich are home to an unusually large number of specialists in sex reassignment surgery.” Lastly, theatregoers may recall that Berger was an initiator of the 2016 Thailand-Germany physical theatre collaboration on interracial relationship “Happy Hunting Ground” by Democrazy Theatre Studio and Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe. To put it differently, this cultural relationship has sustained and it’s important that Thailand’s cultural bodies start taking a look at it and lending support.

From collaborations to creations

This month, B-Floor is back at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre’s 4th floor Studio, with fewer dialogues and more physical movement, as they will close out BACC’s Performative Art Project (PAP) with “Cloud State” featuring two works.

From today (December 2) to Sunday, 7pm, and December 7 to 11, veteran actress and dance movement psychotherapist Dujdao “Dao” Vadhanapakorn’s “Paranoid – Schizoid”, an experiential performance in which she explores, as the title suggests, “a state of infants who cannot process the fact that a person can consist of both good and bad” and, as B-Floor always does, how this relates to the contemporary Thai society. Sharing the stage with Dao are two recipients of Silpathorn Award and B-Floor’s co-artistic directors themselves, “Ja” and Teerawat “Ka-ge” Mulvilai, in addition to another seasoned thespian Ornanong “Golf” Thaisriwong. Dao notes, “This performance aims to use the psychological state merely as an inspiration for her art; it’s not meant to be a scientific study to prove any clinical facts.”

The following weekend (December 15 to 18) at the same venue, the newly graduated Thammasat University theatre class of 2022, who have studied with B-Floor members, will restage their senior project work “It’s Just a Fiction (Not Mentioning Anything)”, described as “a story of a society oppressing its people with a so-called ‘education’.” Rumor is that Thailand’s most prolific complainer Srisuwan Janya may book a ticket.

Tickets for the former are Bt750 and the latter Bt600, available now at https://www.facebook.com/Bfloor.theatre.group/.

Pawit Mahasarinand

Baritone Patrizio Buanne brings ‘La Dolce Vita’ to Benjakitti Park on Sunday

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Baritone Patrizio Buanne brings ‘La Dolce Vita’ to Benjakitti Park on Sunday

Baritone Patrizio Buanne brings ‘La Dolce Vita’ to Benjakitti Park on Sunday

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2022

Stephanie Adair

MedPark Hospital is marking its second birthday on Sunday with “Med Music in the Park” featuring famous Italian baritone Patrizio Buanne. 

The free-for-all concert will be held in Benjakitti Park’s amphitheatre on Sunday from 4pm to 8pm. Thai musicians and the RSU Symphony Orchestra will be sharing the stage with Buanne. 

The baritone, known for his renditions of the famous aria La Dolce Vita, said he was excited to bring his music to Thai fans. 

Baritone Patrizio Buanne brings ‘La Dolce Vita’ to Benjakitti Park on Sunday

“My contribution here is music, which is tonic for the soul. I’m very, very excited to perform tomorrow … Tomorrow I want to make sure that I will make people feel simply good,” Buanne said. 

The tall, dark Italian-Austrian singer has sold more than 10 million albums and has been delighting audiences for more than 15 years at venues like London’s Royal Albert Hall, the Sydney Opera House, Singapore’s Esplanade and New York’s Lincoln Centre. 

Baritone Patrizio Buanne brings ‘La Dolce Vita’ to Benjakitti Park on Sunday

Joining him on stage will be Thai divas like Gob Saovanit, Lookwa Pijika and Pure Ekkapan along with Dolchai Boonyatavej, duo act Sunny Trio and Natt Buntita, with the RSU Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Denny Euprasert.

Stephanie Adair

Thailand, Singapore, two other nations to nominate kebaya for Unesco listing

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Thailand, Singapore, two other nations to nominate kebaya for Unesco listing

Thailand, Singapore, two other nations to nominate kebaya for Unesco listing

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2022

Singapore will be nominating the kebaya for Unesco’s intangible cultural heritage list in a multinational effort with Thailand, Brunei and Malaysia.

The National Heritage Board (NHB) on Wednesday said this would be Singapore’s first multinational nomination to the Unesco Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and it is slated for submission in March 2023.

The kebaya is a traditional woman’s upper garment that is popular in the region, said the NHB, and it “represents and celebrates the region’s shared history, promotes cross-cultural understanding and continues to be present and actively produced and worn by many communities across Southeast Asia”.

“The kebaya has been, and continues to be, a central aspect in the representation and display of cultural heritage and identity for Malay, Peranakan and other communities in Singapore, and is an integral part of our heritage as a multicultural port city, with links across South-east Asia and the world,” NHB chief executive Chang Hwee Nee said.

She added that the joint nomination “underscores this multiculturalism and our common roots with the region”.

The NHB said Malaysia had proposed and coordinated the multinational nomination and the idea was discussed as part of a series of working meetings among a number of countries in 2022.

Thailand, Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia agreed to work on the nomination together, said the board, adding that the four countries welcome other countries to join the nomination.

Between August and October, the NHB held six focus group discussions with 48 participants to seek views on the nomination. These included cultural practitioners, cultural association representatives and researchers involved in kebaya production and wearing.

From November 1 to 3, representatives from the NHB and the community attended a workshop organised by Malaysia in Port Dickson, where they discussed the nomination, including what to include in the submission.

Unesco will assess the nomination based on its definition of intangible cultural heritage, and how well each of the four countries will ensure the promotion and transmission of kebaya-related practices, the NHB added.

The result of the nomination is expected to be announced at end-2024.

Kebaya-related crafts and practices were added to the NHB’s intangible cultural heritage inventory in October 2022, joining other elements such as orchid cultivation and soya sauce making on the 102-strong local list.

Kebaya craftsman Ratianah Tahir, who owns Kebaya by Ratianah in Kampong Glam, said the garment has been a staple in her wardrobe since she was young, and she recalls wearing it, especially during festivals and weddings.

The 52-year-old, who has been selling and making kebayas for 18 years, said she hopes the nomination will help raise awareness and increase appreciation for the kebaya and kebaya-wearing among the next generation.

As of 2021, 61 multinational elements have been added to the Unesco list. They include craftsmanship of mechanical watchmaking and art mechanics – a joint nomination by Switzerland and France, as well as Arabic coffee, practised in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar.

Separately, the Singapore Botanic Gardens was inscribed on Unesco’s World Heritage List in 2015.

The Straits Times
Asia News Network

Immerse yourself in the ancient Thai lacquer art of Lai Kammalor

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https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/art-culture/40022371

Immerse yourself in the ancient Thai lacquer art of Lai Kammalor

Immerse yourself in the ancient Thai lacquer art of Lai Kammalor

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2022

Chanchai Pratheepwatanawong

An exhibition of lacquer art at The Peninsula Bangkok seeks to promote the cultural value of ancient Thai art and provide visitors with an immersive artistic experience.

The Peninsula Bangkok welcomes art lovers to discover the vanishing traditional lacquer-art technique of Lai Kammalor, with a special installation by acclaimed local artist and associate professor Niroj Jarungjitvittawat.

The exhibited works, collectively titled “Sati” (a Buddhist term meaning mindfulness or consciousness), have been commissioned as part of the hotel’s artist in residence programme, which is a collaboration with up and coming local artists to offer hotel guests “uniquely immersive artistic experiences”.

Lai Kammalor is a centuries-old painting technique that dates back to the Kingdom of Siam during the Ayutthaya period. The technique employs lacquer, gold leaf and powdered tempera to create elaborately patterned designs. These were used to adorn doors, windows, partitions and cabinetry in many of the country’s grandest historic palaces and temples, including Bangkok’s Grand Palace.

Niroj has made it his personal mission to preserve this distinctive artistic tradition through his own works.

“My dedication to Lai Kammalor goes beyond simply wanting to introduce this ancient Thai method to modern-day art enthusiasts or to my students,” said Niroj, who teaches art at Rajamangala University of Technology Rattanakosin.

Immerse yourself in the ancient Thai lacquer art of Lai Kammalor

“It is my way of promoting higher cultural values embodied in the approach – goodness, faith, truth – to viewers around the world.”

For The Peninsula Bangkok general manager Joseph Sampermans, the Sati exhibition offers guests a sort of “deeply engaging, culturally relevant art experience” that the hotel seeks to share with the artist-in-residence programme.

Immerse yourself in the ancient Thai lacquer art of Lai Kammalor

“Installations like associate professor Niroj’s fulfill an important purpose,” Sampermans said. “Not only do they surround our guests with exquisitely beautiful artworks and introduce them to local creators, they also connect our visitors with the vibrant culture of our home city and our home country.”

Sati is on display at The Peninsula Bangkok’s mezzanine floor and artist studio until December 30. Both hotel guests and outside visitors are welcome to see the exhibition.

Chanchai Pratheepwatanawong