Monday, June 8, 2015

Art in Chiang Mai: From Universities to meeting rooms

While Bangkok is the busy and business driven capital of Thailand, Chiang Mai is often considered the get away for those who like the laid back culture of the north and the cooler climate. Some foreigners working in IT love the developer community there and decided to stay a while as digital nomads in co-working spaces. And then there is the art community. Although Chiang Mai promotes itself as art city, it isn't easy to find the right places.

We started at the Art Center of the Chiang Mai university and were overwhelmed by the current exhibition. Although students works, quite a few showed outstanding talent.

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Next stop was a smaller gallery owned by  Mr. Chumpol Taksapornch  (Tuw). He was born on 20 March 1977 in Bangkok and studied Fine Arts in Thaivijitsilpa Art College in Chiang Mai, graduated from Rajabhat Thonburi Institute in Bangkok with a degree in Visual communication art design.
Chumpolis a full time artist and owner of Matoom Art Space in Chiang Mai. Its a lovely little place, at Tuw has it's own style with wobbly little creatures in a kind of a The-little-Prince-setting. The gallery is located in the south of the old city.

The Meeting room art cafe on the other side of the river, opposite Warorot Market is another little gem. Owner Jo is a full time gallerist with the goal to show as many artists as possible. He changes his exhibitions every two weeks, but he keeps the unsold pictures, so the gallery became a large collection of Chiang Mai art. We bought a small print by Marut Tamboonruang, who was born in 1980 and had exhibitions since 2006. 

In a little chat Gallery and Community space owner Jo complained that there is no museum with a permanent exhibition in Thailand, showing local and international artists. A solution might be close: An article by Asian Correspondent announced an Art Museum for Chiang Mai . The Project is called MICAM Mai Iam Contemporary Art Museum and is supported by several Chiang Mai based Thai artists. The building is already under construction.

There are more galleries of course, a list of the top ten can be found here. We will visit more during our next trip to Chiang Mai, in particular  the famous Sangdee Art Gallery, the Chiang Mai branch of H gallery and Suvannabhumiartgallery with its focus on Burmese artists. 

Last but not least we saw a lot of graffiti in Chiang Mai. There are good ones and bad ones, but some are really nice, so I took some pictures.