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Exhibitions and festivals to be on the lookout for

Those who appreciate the world of art will find themselves busy in the next few days and weeks (and perhaps in many months time) as there are numerous art festivals and exhibitions around the Big Mango to pique your interest. Thailand is a melting pot of creativity and self-expression, with local and foreign talents displaying various works of arts from the use of simple objects to the more abstract. Without further ado, let's take a look at these creative exhibitions and highlight a few.

Art Ground 04

@ The Jam Factory
Feb 1-3, 4-9pm

Taking place at The Jam Factory local arts and retail centre, the annual Art Ground is back in its fourth instalment, which provides a hub for Thai and foreign artists to display their unique works of art. More than 40 new artists will debut at the event, which is centred around "The Ordinary" theme. The event aims to show that everything around us can be art with the use of ordinary objects. Attendees will be surprised to see how art can make use of space, with works covering across all sorts of dimensions. The event will be split into six separate zones -- Art Now, Art Found, Art Sound, Art Pow, Art How, Art Wow. Apart from gallery spaces, attendees will also have access to craft workshops and open spaces that will enable them to work with others, including the artists.

Highlights: One of the six zones, Art Now will provide a space for artists who have previously taken part in past editions of Art Ground or have been involved with The Jam Factory in some capacity. Expect to see works from renowned local artists such as Kantapon Metheekul (Gongkan), Jeep Kongdechakul, Note Panayanggool (Notep), Pomme Chan (Tachamapan Chanchamrassang) and many more. Art Found is "the heart of the event" where the work of more than 40 artists, all of whom debut at Art Ground, will be displayed on a two-tiered scaffolding area. Held in the lawn area, Art Sound will be a place where attendees can relax and listen to music. Art Pow, which stands for Power of Art, lets attendees create art by themselves, as well as work with other artists, whereas Art How lets attendees participate in Craft Workshops where they are able to take home the art they make. Be amazed and enjoy live performances through Art Wow by the Chao Phraya River.

More info at: http://fb.com/thejammag

Bangkok Design Week

@ Various Locations
Jan 26-Feb 3

Creators, designers and producers will gather for the annual Bangkok Design Week under the theme "Fusing Forward". A festival dedicated to the creative minds of the Big Mango spread out across multiple districts, Bangkok Design Week will play host to various showcases and exhibitions, whether it is artwork, film or music. Bangkok's brilliant minds will join forces to create products and services for commercial purposes, which will be split into five key activities: a showcase and exhibition of products, workshops, a programme where creatives can demonstrate their potential through musical and artistic performances and film screenings, a creative market and a "Creative District Project" that aims to support commercial activities and community well-being.

Highlights: Belgian designer Sarah Corynen teams up with the Sansiri Club Collection to launch her first exhibition in Southeast Asia titled "The Alphabet Of Joy", which takes place aboard a large boat docked near the SCB branch of Talad Noi (11am-9pm). The boat's use of spaces exudes a colourful atmosphere that is reminiscent of the artist's signature playful style, its exhibition split into areas. The main exhibition will showcase 30 drawings and prints hung on the wall. There will also be a curio shop showcasing the designer's collaborative works with famous Bangkok designers, an "I" for Imagination Workshop Studio (1-5pm), where visitors can participate and create art in the style of the designer through ceramics and cloths, and a pop-up bar. 

Corynen said, "All my work is about joy for colours, things I enjoy in life, small things in daily life. With the exhibition, we try to find joy and happiness in small things. Because all the world is confusing for lots of people what with social media and their busy lives. Sometimes you just gotta step back and enjoy the beautiful pictures. I hope the audience will be inspired and follow something they really like. "

More info at: http://bangkokdesignweek.com / http://fb.com/BangkokDesignWeek

Galleries' Night

Feb 1-2, from 5pm

Now in its sixth edition, Galleries' Night, under the French Embassy's La Fête programme, will be showcasing more than 50 galleries across two nights. Tonight, their exhibitions will be held around Sathon and Silom, while on Saturday head on over to Sukhumvit. Should you get lost, there will be 80 volunteers offering free "artsy" tuk-tuk rides to get to each gallery or alternatively you can use the Galleries' Night mobile app to learn more about each art piece.

Highlights: Thai artist Charuwan Noprumpha, in collaboration with the Alliance Francaise cultural centre, will launch her first exhibition "Some Parts Of Some Things". Through pencil drawings, watercolour paintings and stained glass installations, see through the eyes of the artist as she observes the things around her day-by-day. The pieces are "gathered to create special sensations and moments, in order to communicate or evoke some parts of some things".

Charuwan said, "I did not expect what the audience will get from the exhibition but I did think about what I want to give to the audience. For the exhibition, the content and concept is to share, to inform the thoughts, feelings, the visibility (perception). It should be open for the audience to freely think and feel by using end product as the linkage (between artist and audience)."

More info at: http://french-highlights.com / http://fb.com/galleriesnight

Low Fat Art Fest

Feb 8-18

Low in fat, high in nutrition, the Low Fat Art Fes is back in its third volume, bringing a wealth of more than 20 live performances ranging from contemporary dances and art exhibitions to film and photography. The festival focuses on Thon Buri, turning the three communities of Tha Din Daeng, Klong San and the Princess Mother Memorial Park into an art platform.

Highlights: On Feb 9-10 at Lamthong Salt Factory (7-9pm), contemporary dancer Phittaya "Sun" Phaefuang will explore LGBTQ themes of gender and sexuality freedom and self expression with a solo performance. Titled "Realness Sunya", the performance will merge New York's vogue culture with Thai culture, questioning traditions in issues related to the LGBTQ community. Instead of the ballroom vogue style where dancers compete with each other in categories, Sun's performance will be a battle between not just himself but the audience and socially constructed norms.

Sun said, "I have been researching about what we are as humans. Not only as physical beings. But trying to separate us totally. We are built with different parts. I wanted to discuss further about the idea of sex, sexuality and gender. As something that is just socially constructed. And is when we know this, we are more in control of ourselves, who we are and who we can be."

Also at the Lamthong Salt Factory, from Feb 16-17, rope artist Yada Kaewburee and her Little Bird Shibari Studio will be displaying a Rope Art Installation Art that hopes to bound and tie the audience and set them free. Using shibari rope-binding methods of hojojutsu, she will be tying her subjects in artistic ways that will go beyond the sexual and erotic BDSM elements rope bondage is known for.

Yada said, "I would like to reinterpret the art of shibari to convey BDSM as something abstract and more connected to my philosophy. The idea of connecting hidden memories that still remain; connected from the lines of nerves. That link the stories of people, objects and places that are hidden in this old salt factory."

More info at: http://lowfatartfes.com / http://fb.com/lowfatartfes

Spectrosynthesis II -- Exposure of Tolerance: LGBTQ in Southeast Asia

@ BACC
Nov 23, 2019 - Mar 1, 2020

The BACC is co-organizing with Hong Kong's Sunpride Foundation to bring Southeast Asia's biggest contemporary art exhibition that explores LGBTQ's creative history in the region. The first of its kind in Southeast Asia, the exhibition will gather LGBTQ artists and artists with perspectives who shine a positive light on the issues of gender representation. The event will feature over 200 works by more than 50 artists, one of whom is famed Thai-American artist and actor Michael Shaowanasai.  Still in its early stages of development, expect to see the exhibition tackle issues of gender and sex within the LGBT community on the 7th and 8th floors of the BACC.

Michael said, "The exhibition will be unique in terms of the LGBT art community that will cater exclusively to issues relating to the community."

More info: http://fb.com/baccpage

Bangkok Art Biennale

@ Various Locations
Until Feb 3

With the Bangkok Art Biennale coming to a close on Sunday, art appreciators have two days to look around and marvel at all the creations around the city by the 70+ participating artists. And if not, don't fret because there is still a lot more happening that is worth grabbing your attention.

Highlights: Thai video artist Kawita Vatanajyankur is performing a live exhibition titled "Knit" at the Peninsula Hotel. Inspired by the exploitation of labourers in the fashion industry, the performance is about 45 minutes to an hour long where she uses her body as a knitting machine which will result in a large knitted fabric by the end of the performance. Her use of each body part represents parts of a machine. Known for her use of textiles to create looping video art, her performance gives audiences an intimate look at how she produces her work. The final performance is tomorrow in the hotel lobby between 3.30-4.30pm. The live performances are a part of her "Performing Textiles" solo exhibition on display as part of the biennale.

Kawita said, "‘Performing Textiles' is focusing on the fashion and textile industry and the labour work behind it. Today's consumerism and materialism has made us all as consumers value materials, products and objects and we often disregard and ignore the human work behind the machine -- we see them as machines. In ‘Performing Textiles', the human bodies are compared to machines and performing repetitively as tools that produce the finished product. ‘Performing Textiles' is a series that is concerned on labour rights and highlights on issues such as labour exploitation in the fashion and textile factories.

"The challenge in this performance is the knitted pattern where I intend to change several times during the performance resulting in a totally different action during the live performance. As the body is knitting the fabric which looks almost like a spider web or a net, the body tends to get stuck and trapped inside the web while the feet keeps continuing the knitting process until the fabric is finished."

More info at: http://bkkartbiennale.com / http://fb.com/bkkartbiennale

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