This Chinese New Year, devotees can avoid being exposed to the highly transmissible Omicron variant by registering for their “merit to be delivered” virtually from temples in Hong Kong via the Bok Boon Delivery Line account @bokboon or Facebook page www.facebook.com/bokboondelivery.
To mark the Lunar New Year, Thais usually flock to temples in Hong Kong to pray for prosperity, love, health and wealth. Here are the five most popular sacred sites in Hong Kong:
• Che Kung Temple: This temple features a golden statue of Che Kung, a military general of the Southern Song dynasty in ancient China, and a golden pinwheel. It is believed that spinning the pinwheel three times clockwise will draw good things and get rid of bad luck.
• Wong Tai Sin Temple: This Taoist deity is believed to have the power of healing, so thousands flock to this temple to pray for good health. Devotees can also pray to Cai Shen for good luck and Yue Lao for being lucky in love.
• Tin Hau Temple at Repulse Bay: One of the oldest in Hong Kong, this temple was built to protect fishermen and features a tall Guan Yin statue that is believed to grant wishes. Other Chinese deities are also present in the temple.
• Kwan Tai Temple in Sham Shui Po: Police officers and business people usually flock to this temple to pray to Guan Yu, the god of honesty and loyalty. Guan Yu featured greatly in the Chinese historical epic, “Romance of the Three Kingdoms”.
• Tian Tan Buddha at Polin Monastery: Located on Polin mountain on Lantau island, devotees believe that praying to the Tian Tan Buddha will give them a happy life and success in every aspect.
A high-speed railway station near a horse ranch with a history of more than 2,000 years in northwest Chinas Gansu Province went into operation on Sunday.
Situated at an altitude of over 3,000 meters, the Shandan Horse Ranch station is located in Shandan County in the city of Zhangye along the Lanzhou-Xinjiang high-speed railway line.
The expansion project of the station, which did not have passenger transport services before, started construction in March this year. A passenger terminal building covering an area of 1,080 square meters, two platforms and other facilities, were built as part of the project.
Eight trains, heading for several cities including Lanzhou, Xi’an and Urumqi, will now stop over at the station.
Yang Yifeng took the train eastward to Tianshui, Gansu, a trip of five and a half hours now.
Aerial photo taken on June 19, 2021 shows horses galloping at the Shandan Horse Ranch in Shandan County, Zhangye City, northwest China
“We used to take normal trains and then travel by bus from Tianshui to the horse ranch, with the journey lasting more than 10 hours. Now the trip is very convenient,” said Yang, one of the first batch of passengers.
Shandan Horse Ranch under the foot of the Qilian Mountains is one of the oldest horse ranches in the world. Horses have been raised here since the Han Dynasty (202 B.C.- A.D. 220), and the tradition of horse breeding has continued for thousands of years. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907) reign, the number of horses in Shandan exceeded 70,000.
In recent years, with great achievements in the ecological protection of the Qilian Mountains, Shandan Horse Ranch began to actively develop tourism.
Chen Jin, deputy head of Shandan County, said that with the opening of the station, tourists from all over the country can come to visit the ranch more easily via the high-speed railway.
It will provide important transportation support for environmental protection and the development of sustainable industries in the Qilian Mountains, Chen added.
Here is a glimpse of impressive artworks from 20 artists across the globe that will be exhibited at the Bangkok Art Biennale 2022 (BAB 2022) under the theme “Chaos: Calm” from October 22, 2022, to February 23, 2023.
BAB 2022 will feature extraordinary artworks exhibited at the capital’s top landmarks – Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimonmangkalaram Ratchaworawihan, Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchaworawihan, Wat Prayurawongsawat Worawihan, the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre and Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre.
Fabulous artwork coming to townFabulous artwork coming to townFabulous artwork coming to townFabulous artwork coming to town
This is the biggest art event in Thailand. It is held every two years.
The Embassy of Israel in cooperation with Soul Salt River City invites you to embark on an exciting artistic journey, Maya x Nui: A Painting Workshop by Israeli and Thai Artists.
Maya Prat, an Israeli artist who dedicates herself to creating culture hubs in a community outside Israel’s economic center, and Chalah Chaveesuk or Nui, a former art instructor at Ohio University whose artworks have been exhibited at both national and international arenas, share a common belief that everyone can create art. So, let loose and allow your creative soul to soar as you paint in a cozy atmosphere by the Chao Phraya River. In this workshop, the two artists will guide you and help you to discover that zero expertise is required in order to express yourself on a canvas.
Should you need extra inspiration, Maya and Nui has created a special artwork together called ‘Flood’, a painting that combines both of their signature styles in one piece. For them, ‘flood’ has more meaning beyond a natural disaster. It refers also to the flood of ideas, emotions, and changes. The only way to stop ourselves from drowning is to keep our heads and mind above water. No matter where you are in this world, this is the mutual ‘flood’ we have to overcome.
The event is limited for 40 people.
Participants will get one complimentary drink and have to pay for painting package (599 baht).
Faculty members of Chula’s Faculty of Education collaborate with academicians from four academic institutions to research the future of “Hua Lamphong” as a creative space to preserve the history and culture linking the old town and the new commercial district, after the railway hub moved to Bang Sue Central Station.
“Hua Lamphong” or Bangkok Railway Station has been an iconic landmark of Bangkok for 105 years since the foundation of the transportation system in Siam during the reign of King Rama V. But from now on, Hua Lamphong will have a new role, when the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) moves almost all train services to Bang Sue Central Station, which will be a major connecting point for the Red Line suburban railroad construction project.
What will the new page of Hua Lamphong’s history be? SRT and Thailand Science Research and Innovation (TSRI) commissioned Chulalongkorn University, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Thammasat University, Naresuan University, and Arsom Silp Institute of The Arts to conduct research to determine the future direction of Hua Lamphong in its new century.
Asst. Prof. Dr. Fuang-arun Preededilok, Chair of the Department of Development Education, Faculty of Education, Chulalongkorn University, and director of planning for the feasibility study “Conservation and Development Project of Bangkok Railway Station (Hua Lamphong)” said that the study began in August 2020. Divided into two phases, it focuses on conservation, and area use guidelines while allowing participation from many sectors of the society to determine the future of Hua Lamphong.
“In this study, the people are involved as the “cocreators” as the “users” of the designs, and the “responsible persons” to preserve the public properties that belong to all Thais. This research shows us clearly that the people think “Hua Lamphong Station” belongs to all Thai people,” Asst. Prof. Dr. Fuangarun said.
“Hua Lamphong Station”, the hub that connects old values with the new economy
Asst. Prof. Dr. Fuangarun unveiled the results of Phase 1 research with Asst. Prof. Thip Srisakulchairak, Arsom Silp Institute of The Arts as project leader. Phase 1 research focused on the dimensions of identity values and basic social needs. “The development guidelines were to make Hua Lamphong an economically self-sufficient area and the gateway between Bangkok’s old town such as China Town (Yaowarat), the July 22nd Circle, Talad Noi, etc., and new commercial districts on Rama IV Road,”.
Research results were in line with SRT’s concept to develop the 121 rai (about 48 acres) of land around Hua Lamphong as a “House of Trains” with a railway museum and conservation areas along the train tracks in the form of museums of local cultures, as well as creative village enterprises that integrate with tourist attractions in the old town.
The concept of “Hua Lamphong” as a space for the creative economy of the future
From the Hua Lamphong’s development framework drawn from Phase 1 research, the team continues to explore the forms of use for the station’s buildings and their vicinity to be a tourist attraction and a hub for the creative economy, learning center, and a public space that meets the needs of diverse groups of people. Phase 2 of the project consists of three sub-projects.
1. A Study for Conservation and Development of the Physical Environment of the Hua Lamphong Station
with three proposed uses and benefits:
Type 1. Equal use for public and commercial areas in the same proportion of 30 percent.
Type 2. The largest proportion of 30 percent goes to commercial use, followed by activity space, creative space, and conservation areas in equal proportions of 18 percent.
Type 3. The largest proportion of 40 percent goes to commercial use, followed by activities space, and conservation area in the same proportion of 18 percent.
2. Investment management models and financial feasibility to support the conservation and development of the physical environment in Hua Lamphong
Asst. Prof. Dr. Fuangarun elaborated that “considering the functions of the buildings and their surroundings, it was found that all three types of proposed uses (according to the research results in Part 1) were acceptable alternatives for the people in the community. But there may need to be some compensation for what the community would lose, e.g. some people may not feel they benefit from using the space for a shopping center.”
3. The study of logistics system to link the Hua Lamphong area
is divided into 2 sub-sections: the system linking the areas within Hua Lamphong, and one linking Hua Lamphong to other places via different modes of transportation such as buses, taxis, BTS, and MRT trains, and boats, with Hua Lamphong as the hub. The study also presented examples of four tour routes of Hua Lamphong and the nearby communities. (Virtual Tour) https://hlpvirtualtour.com.
Various social sectors help paint the portrait of their dreams for Hua Lamphong
Phase 2 research used qualitative and quantitative research (mixed methods) emphasizing public communication to raise awareness of conservation and development of the Hua Lamphong area and to encourage participation from various concerned sectors, namely those who live in the Hua Lamphong area, personnel working in Hua Lamphong, commuters using the services of Hua Lamphong, government agencies, the private sector, the tourism sector, academicians, experts, architects, conservationists, SRT officials, the civil society including various educational institutions,” Asst. Prof. Dr. Fuangarun explained.
The research methodology includes surveys, interviews, various activities, communication, and public forums through a variety of channels such as Facebook Fanpage, Conservation Research, and Development Project of Bangkok Railway Station – Hua Lamphong, Community Walk, seminars, public forums in collaboration with public media such as Thai PBS, The Active and The Cloud. In addition, there were small group discussions of representatives from relevant sectors, opinion surveys via Google Form, public media communication and Chula radio station, and presentation of the tourist route “Hua Lamphong and nearby communities” (HuaLamphong Virtual Tour). Also, an online exhibition was organized to present the findings of the project and the three sub-projects which received over 900 views.
Asst. Prof. Dr. Fuangarun explained the challenges of the research that “it is an integration of different fields of science, i.e., architecture, social sciences, and economics. Moreover, the studies had to be done during the COVID-19 pandemic, so data collection methods and other tasks had to be adjusted according to the situation while striving to meet all research objectives.”
Finally, Asst. Prof. Dr. Fuangarun suggested that the research results can be useful in many aspects.
“SRT and the Tourism Authority of Thailand, which are the agencies directly involved, can apply the research findings to drive their policies, and use them as a framework for development model contest, and for various groups of people involved with Hua Lamphong to understand and recognize the value of its conservation and development, as Hua Lumphong is an area of great value and historical significance in Thailand.”
In addition, SRT, investors, businessmen, entrepreneurs in the area, and the Business Network for Bangkok Society can apply the research findings to investment management and financial feasibility guidelines for joint investment in the Hua Lamphong area, both in tourism management and creative entrepreneurship, as well as for people in the communities around the Hua Lamphong to use the findings to drive the development of surrounding communities.
The interested public can view more content on conservation research and development of the Bangkok Railway Station (Hua Lamphong) via the following links:
Namibia on Friday launched a national elephant conservation and management plan for the next 10 years.
Namibia on Friday launched a national elephant conservation and management plan for the next 10 years.
Speaking at the launch, Environment Minister Pohamba Shifeta said elephants have not just increased in numbers, but have also expanded in range and are now found in areas where they went locally extinct more than 70 years ago.
“We are devolving… management of elephants to the local level structures headed by regional managers,” he said. “These structures will be empowered to come up with innovative, locally accepted measures and actions to manage elephants occurring in those specific areas.”
File photo taken on Aug. 26, 2016 shows elephants at the Etosha National Park, northwestern Namibia. (Xinhua/Wu Changwei)
Shifeta also launched the Wildlife Corridors Strategy, which provides for the management and protection of wildlife movement routes or corridors that need to be kept open but limit direct contact between people and wildlife in order to reduce human-wildlife conflict and promote biodiversity conservation and wildlife economy.
Five wildlife corridors or wildlife dispersal areas in the northeast Zambezi region have been identified.
The Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) finally opened its doors to the public on Friday with an exhibition showcasing the works of late National Artist Damrong Wong-Uparaj.
“Damrong Wong-Uparaj: A Retrospective of Versatility and Discipline” features 70 paintings and prints portraying the artist’s changing viewpoints in each year of his life. The exhibition runs until December 5.
The late artist’s works were meant to go on display officially in April but had to be postponed due to Covid-related national lockdowns.
Though BACC opened on October 1 when measures were relaxed, it did not launch the exhibition’s opening ceremony until Friday.
Damrong’s career spanned more than 40 years and he was best known for his lively depictions of Thai rural life captured through the modern palette. He died aged 66 in 2002.
By Thanachart Chuengyaempin
BACC opens with dedication to late National Artist Damgrong Wong-UparajBACC opens with dedication to late National Artist Damgrong Wong-UparajBACC opens with dedication to late National Artist Damgrong Wong-UparajBACC opens with dedication to late National Artist Damgrong Wong-UparajBACC opens with dedication to late National Artist Damgrong Wong-UparajBACC opens with dedication to late National Artist Damgrong Wong-Uparaj
“In Forever Is Now exhibition, I believe Forever refers to the Great Pyramids with their magnificence and antiquity, and Now signifies temporary art,” said Ahmed Obied, assistant minister of tourism and antiquities.
Egypt launched on Thursday the first international art exhibition at the Great Pyramids of Giza and their surrounding plateau with the participation of artists from Egypt and other countries.
The event “Forever Is Now” is organized by Art D’Egypte company, an Egyptian platform for art and heritage, under the auspices of Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the patronage of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
“Today, we see a mix between the Egyptian civilization and contemporary art around the world. This is surely very important because it represents exchanges among cultures and dialogues between contemporary artists and our civilization,” said Nadine Abdel-Ghaffar, founder of Art D’Egypte.
The international gallery features the sculptures and artworks of the artists in open space around the pyramids.
Visitors pose for photos with an artwork during an international art exhibition in Giza, Egypt, on Oct. 21, 2021. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)
Abdel-Ghaffar noted that it is a new experience to hold such an open-air art exhibition in Egypt and her team ensured preserving the archeological site while installing the sculptures of the artists, which took more than a year of preparation.
“The exhibition is a message of hope for humanity, particularly amid COVID-19 pandemic while many countries impose lockdowns,” she told Xinhua.
Visitors gather in front of Italian artist Lorenzo Quinn
Among the displayed works is a sculpture made of stainless steel rods entitled “Together” by Italian artist Lorenzo Quinn, which features two hands rising and touching each other by the tips of fingers to symbolize communication.
The Great Pyramids of Giza can just be seen in a distance behind Quinn’s work. “I am very lucky to have the three pyramids behind my sculpture. The position of the hands touching each other like this also looks like a pyramid shape, which is why I made the hands this way,” the sculptor explained in front of his work.
He noted that he used stainless steel wire mesh with 36,000 welding points and the work took him nine months.
Another work was from Egyptian artist Moataz Nasr, which shows dozens of paddles of a solar boat crossed in X shape to form a 14-meter-long boat-like structure, with a lower passage where visitors can walk in and face a kind of a bottleneck while going through.
“The piece is entitled ‘Barzakh,’ which means a divide, or a spot between two different worlds like life and death, day and night or black and white, while a solar boat for ancient Egyptians was meant to take them from this world to the afterlife,” the Egyptian artist explained.
Meanwhile, opposite to one of the pyramids, two British artists Edward Shuster and Claudia Moseley teamed up to present their joint work “Plan of the Path of Light.”
It is a number of hand-bonded optical glass figures with steel bases, one of which looks like a glass pyramid.
Behind the abstract simplicity of the forms is a matrix of symbolic angles, measures and orientations, inspired by the optico-geometric magic of the Great Pyramid, the two artists said.
“We tried to take all the symbolism and cosmic mathematics of the pyramids and include them in this new contemporary form,” Shuster told Xinhua.
“In ‘Forever Is Now’ exhibition, I believe ‘Forever’ refers to the Great Pyramids with their magnificence and antiquity, and ‘Now’ signifies temporary art,” Ahmed Obied, assistant minister of tourism and antiquities, told Xinhua at the pyramids plateau.
Visitors view Egyptian artist Moataz Nasr
Photo taken on Oct. 21, 2021 shows an artwork in front of the Pyramid of Khafre during an international art exhibition in Giza, Egypt. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)
Rolex is a Founding Supporter of this pioneering institution a logical development demonstrating the brand’s continuous pursuit and promotion of excellence, its commitment to the art of filmmaking, the preservation of cinema and the transmission of knowledge and skills to future generations
ACADEMY MUSEUM OF MOTION PICTURES
The museum is the first and largest institution in the United States devoted to the history, science and cultural influences of filmmaking. Designed by Pritzker Prize- winning architect Renzo Piano, this hub for film lovers has 50,000 square feet (about 4,650 square metres) of galleries, two theatres, including a 1,000-seat auditorium, an education studio and beautiful public spaces. By illuminating the past, present and future of motion pictures, it aims to advance people’s understanding of cinema through exhibitions, screenings, programmes and collections.
The Rolex Gallery, a permanent, multi-room experience on the museum’s third floor, features “Stories of Cinema”, with special installations that reveal the many aspects of moviemaking – technology, artists, history and social impact – through a variety of diverse and engaging voices that convey the magic of this art form. The legendary Cosmograph Daytona, owned by actor and motor racing enthusiast Paul Newman, is also on display in the museum.
KEY LINKS TO CINEMA
For almost a century, Rolex and cinema have enjoyed close ties. A kinship that started spontaneously – Rolex watches, a symbol of fortitude and strength, appeared on actors’ wrists in many memorable films – has grown ever stronger over the years, notably through the watchmaker’s active support for film directors, whether established or rising talents.
The close relationship between Rolex and the film industry was formalized in 2017 when the brand signed a partnership agreement with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Rolex thereby became the Academy’s Exclusive Watch and Proud Sponsor of the Oscars® ceremony, for which it also designs and hosts the Greenroom, an elegant space where presenters and guests mingle before going on stage. In 2018, the brand became a sponsor of the Academy’s annual Governors Awards honouring lifetime achievement. Its support of the Academy Museum is part of this broadening relationship. The two organizations are united by a commitment to excellence, a sense of history and a mission to preserve and celebrate the creation of extraordinary works – masterpieces.
BARBRA STREISAND BRIDGE
PERPETUATING THE CINEMATIC ARTS
Rolex maintains a privileged relationship with some of the world’s greatest filmmakers. These visionaries and masters of technology are constantly pushing back the limits of storytelling and those of cinema itself. Martin Scorsese and fellow film director James Cameron are two towering figures from the world of cinema who currently serve as Rolex Testimonees.
DOLBY FAMILY TERRACE
Scorsese has also passed on his wisdom as a mentor through the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, which pairs young artists with masters in their discipline for a period of creative collaboration. The initiative embodies the brand’s commitment to transmitting knowledge, a key element of Rolex’s Perpetual spirit, which is based on humankind’s infinite potential, the determination to push back the frontiers and to make constant progress. Other mentoring directors have included Alfonso Cuarón and Spike Lee, both of whom were invited to share their craft at virtual events staged by the museum and who bring their own Oscar-winning work closer to the public.
“Rolex has been linked to the world of cinema for decades, from appearances of its watches in iconic films to the brand’s support for young filmmakers through its mentoring programme,” said Arnaud Boetsch, Rolex Director of Communication & Image. “The relationship between the brand and the film industry was formalized in 2017 through our partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). There’s a natural fit between Rolex, AMPAS, the museum and the world of cinema. We are united in our common search for excellence, in always pushing the limits, reinventing our industries and being a source of inspiration for people and society.”
The Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) continues playing an important role in showcasing art in Thailand, the centre’s acting director Luckana Kunavichayanont says.
In an interview with the Nation Thailand, she talks about BACC’s future and the challenges it faced during the Covid-19 lockdowns.
The significance of BACC
When asked if the centre is still necessary for this digital era when art can be exhibited and sold online, Luckana said the centre’s main job is to educate people.
She explained that art pieces are collected and curated to communicate with visitors. Each piece, she said, is contemporary and reflects the current situation.
“It is still necessary to address important issues through an analogue platform,” she explained. “This is something that cannot be done online.”
Also, she said, apart from serving as a space for exhibitions, BACC also holds events, seminars and workshops to educate those interested in art.
BACC during Covid
“The lockdown affected us badly,” she said, referring to the temporary nationwide closure ordered by the government after the arrival of the third wave of infections in April. “Big exhibitions had to be closed after a few weeks of operation. Everything that was planned had to be cancelled or shuffled and we lost a lot of our investment.”
She said apart from exhibitions being shuttered, the centre also lost more than a million baht in revenue as it could not collect rent from shops or event organisers.
Admitting that the closure was inevitable, she said it also helped her and her team to devise a Plan B.
Bangkok’s art scene in the pandemic eraBACC held its first virtual exhibition in collaboration with the creators of the A360 virtual platform.
This virtual exhibition showcased Damrong Wong-uparaj’s works, which were initially meant to be displayed in the gallery.
“Damrong’s exhibition won some 4,000 views, which is satisfactory for a first virtual showcase,” she said.
Bangkok’s art scene in the pandemic era
Artists during Covid-19
Luckana said many artists were unable to create new pieces during the pandemic because they could not leave home to seek inspiration. Also, she said, many faced financial problems and had to cut down on the number of pieces they produced.
Though visual artists could work alone and size their pieces in line with their budget, she said performing artists suffered badly. She said that though some presented their performances online, the effect fell flat because there was no live interaction with the audience.
As for depression brought on by the pandemic, she said there was a positive angle when it comes to art, as artists can give their sadness physical form and expression.
Bangkok’s art scene in the pandemic era
BACC in the future
Luckana said she believes the centre will flourish because people nowadays, be they young or old, have developed an interest in art as it is far more easily accessible.
“People flooded to the centre when it was allowed to reopen on October 1. That was quite unexpected,” she said. “Yesterday [Wednesday], BACC had more than 4,000 visitors.
“Topics like soft power and creative economy are top talking points nowadays. We are now focusing on the cultural economy. It is really about art and culture,” she said.
Luckana also urged the government to come up with policies that support Thailand’s contemporary art industry and help it grow.
“Many Thai artists earn a living by exhibiting and selling their work outside Thailand. The government plays little or no role in supporting Thai artists,” she said.