Art shines In Her Eyes

CHIANG RAI, 25 July 2017: An art exhibition by 26 female artists living in this far-north Thai province, underscores efforts to brand Chiang Rai as a “City of Art.”

The ‘In Her Eyes’ exhibition opened last Saturday at the town’s ArtBridge that has more than 300 members many of them artists in their own right and residents who support the arts. The exhibition runs until 20 August displaying more than 60 paintings.

Efforts to brand Chiang Rai based on its strong art community date back to 2015 when the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports funded an exercise to assist the province to discover a path to branding its tourism identity.

A series of seminars were held after the inaugural briefing and presentations at the town’s Legend Hotel. Nothing much came of the initiative until earlier this year, when it became apparent tourism officials had settled on the tag “City of Art”. Very little has been carried out since to present the branding to the province’s travel industry and the TAT office in Chiang Rai was conspicuous by its absence from the launch of the In Her Eyes exhibition.

Last February, Tourism Authority of Thailand offered the first hint that the province was adopting a brand linked to its traditional performances and arts with the launch of “Warm Up the City of Art”. The official opening was held at the Baandum Museum, which belongs to the family of the late Thai national artist, Thawan Duchanee.

While the slogan ‘Warm Up The City of Art’ was a mite ambiguous it did shine the spotlight on the town’s community of artists with presentations at Baandum Museum, ArtBridge and V. Vajiramedhi Art Museum.

Chiang Rai is home to  well-known artists, some of them of national status such as the late Thawan Duchanee and the creator of the famous ‘white temple’, Chalermchai Kositpipat.

It is believed that the number of well-known artists born in Chiang Rai (excluding persons from music and drama industries) is second only to Bangkok.

Many of the artists exhibit their works at galleries adjacent to their homes and studios. In some instances their homes are their studios where they invite art lovers, critics and collectors to view their works.

ArtBridge centre was built to bring the province’s artists under one roof and promote their works through exhibitions.

The latest ArtBridge  project ‘In Her Eyes’ focuses on the growing community of women artists and illustrates the styles, techniques and interpretation of ideas that female artists contribute to the province’s art scene.